On Tuesday, Sporting KC’s own Matt Besler was named the 2012 MLB Defender of the Year. He becomes the third member of the Kansas City squad to win the award joining Jimmy Conrad (2005) and now head coach Peter Vermes (2000). Of course the previous two won the award as members of the Kansas City Wizards (a team name which I miss).
While some would disagree, Besler, an Overland Park native, was a logical choice for the award. He was the best defensive player on the best defensive team and reacted to the news in a way which we’ve all become accustomed, with class. From Sporting’s team site comes the following,
To be a part of such a great team and backline, you could make an argument for any of the back four for Sporting Kansas City. All year long our theme has been defending as a team from the forwards on back.
When it comes to defense, it truly was a team effort for Sporting Kansas City as they allowed just 27 goals in 34 matches. In doing so SKC allowed six fewer than any other team in the league. Not only did they work in concert with goalie Jimmy Nielsen to keep points off the board, the defense allowed only 328 shots and 108 shots on goal – both marks led the league. As Steve Davis noted on Pro Soccer Talk,
Consider also that goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen started all 34 games for Sporting KC, and yet was no higher than 15th in saves.
That’s getting it done folks.
Besler started in 30 of the team’s 34 games logging 2,769 minutes of action on the pitch after 2,880 minutes in 2011. He was a consistent presence on the back line and had the best season of his four year career. Both of his assists on the year were game winners for the #8 pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft.
His teammate, Aurelien Collin, finished third in the voting.
|Player||% of Club Votes||% of Media Votes||% of Player Votes||Weighted Total|
|Matt Besler (KC)||10.35||46.97||13.19||70.51|
|Victor Bernardez (SJ)||32.76||15.15||16.48||64.39|
|Aurelien Collin (KC)||22.41||13.64||12.08||48.13|
|Jay DeMerit (VAN)||6.9||6.06||9.89||22.85|
|Carlos Valdes (PHI)||6.9||4.55||4.4||15.85|