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SBI Mid-Season Defender of the Year: Jose Goncalves

Jose Goncalves, Devon Sandoval


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:



Has been a rock in the back for the Revs, leading the stingiest defense in MLS.


Arguably the best defender in the league, Besler has sharpened his already-outstanding game even further thanks to his recent international experience.


The leader of an FC Dallas defense that doesn’t get nearly enough credit for being one of the toughest units in MLS.


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.


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:


  • Jose Goncalves
  • George John
  • Sheanon Williams
  • Jamison Olave
  • Matt Besler
  • Matteo Ferrari
  • Nat Borchers
  • Djimi Traore
  • Bobby Boswell
  • Lee-Young Pyo
  • Drew Moor


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.


  1. Why is Tony Beltran not on the list? In his 16 games started/played for RSL the team has given up 11 goals or an average of .6875 per game. His play both getting forward and in one on one defending on the flank are perhaps the best you will see from anyone in MLS on the right side.

    Goncalves’ has played and started 16 games with 14 goals conceded or an average of .875 per game. This award is more for an interesting narrative than for who is the best defender in MLS.

    • Gonçalves has started every game for the Revs (and played every minute of those games, at that) and consequently his team has the lowest GA in the league (14), as well as the lowest GAA (.824 at the midway point). The Revs are the categorical best defense in the league right now, and that’s largely because of what José has brought to this team.

      So sure, the story helps (as does having played every moment of every game – you can’t contribute if you’re not playing), but this pick is totally backed by the numbers.

      It does seem like Beltran’s having a pretty great season, though, you’re right about that.

  2. I really like Jose. Been a fantastic signing by Heaps. Hopefully we can get him back on loan or on a full transfer.

  3. Indeed. Can’t say I know the other candidates well, but I watch Jose every week and he has been a beast since opening day. Would love to see the Rev get him locked up beyond this season, but that may be too much to ask, given how well he is playing. I’d imagine he’ll have some other options.


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