By IVES GALARCEP
The New England Revolution fielded a middle-of-the-pack defense in 2012, and if they were going to have any chance of being a serious contender in 2013, they were going to have to upgrade their back-line. The Revs did just that with the acquisition of Portuguese defender Jose Goncalves, who has stepped in and given New England a dominant force in the middle.
Goncalves is SBI’s pick for MLS Mid-Season Defender of the Year because he has been instrumental in the Revs becoming the stingiest defense in MLS through the first half of the season. Combining strength, athleticism and poise, Goncalves has stepped in and helped make the Revs defense one of the best in MLS.
There were several worthy candidates for the mid-season Defender honor, including Sporting KC’s Matt Besler, New York’s Jamison Olave and FC Dallas’ George John to name a few.
So who have been the best defenders in MLS through the season’s first half? Here are SBI’s choices for the Top Five MLS defenders so far in 2013:
SBI MLS MID-SEASON DEFENDER OF THE YEAR RANKINGS
1. JOSE GONCALVES
Has been a rock in the back for the Revs, leading the stingiest defense in MLS.
2. MATT BESLER
Arguably the best defender in the league, Besler has sharpened his already-outstanding game even further thanks to his recent international experience.
3. GEORGE JOHN
The leader of an FC Dallas defense that doesn’t get nearly enough credit for being one of the toughest units in MLS.
4. JAMISON OLAVE
Had his share of defensive struggles early in the year, but has returned to his dominating self while also contributing an MLS career-best four goals this season.
5. SHEANON WILLIAMS
The MLS leader in assists by a defender with seven, Williams has become a true weapon with his dangerous long-throws, while also continuing to mature as a right back.
Now it’s your turn to cast your vote for MLS Mid-Season Defender of the Year. Cast your vote here:
What do you think of our selections? Who would get your Defender of the Year vote at the mid-way point of the season?
Share your thoughts below.