Photo by Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports
By DAN KARELL
Chad Marshall was acquired by the Seattle Sounders last December to help shore up a leaky defense. It’s safe to say that he did that and more.
The veteran centerback started all 31 games he played, leading the Sounders defensively and taking them to both a U.S. Open Cup and Supporters Shield title. Marshall’s performances earned him SBI MLS Defender of the Year honors.
In his 11th season in MLS, Marshall fought through concussions in past years to stay relatively healthy in 2014. He finished the season with one goal and three assists, and only earned one yellow card all season. He had no red cards either.
Marshall beat out a number of deserving candidates, including Bobby Boswell, Matt Hedges, A.J. DeLaGarza, and Sean Franklin for this year’s honors.
Here is a rundown of the other candidates for the SBI MLS Defender of the Year Award:
2. BOBBY BOSWELL
In his first year back with D.C. United, Boswell proved that he was worth every penny of his contract. Boswell was one of the main cogs for D.C. as Ben Olsen’s side completed an impressive first to worst turnaround. Boswell started all 34 games in the regular season and contributed one goal and three assists, teaming up with either Jeff Parke or Steve Birnbaum to keep opponents away from Bill Hamid’s goal.
3. MATT HEDGES
In his third season in the league, Matt Hedges took huge strides forward as he makes himself an intriguing option for a January camp callup with the U.S. Men’s National Team. Without veteran George John for the season, Hedges stepped into his role and even wore the captains arm band on a number of occasions, impressive from a 24-year-old. In 32 matches, Hedges scored three goals and had one assist.
4. A.J. DE LA GARZA
For all of the Galaxy’s success this season, they wouldn’t have done it without A.J. DeLaGarza. The former Maryland Terrapin took his game to another level this season and in 29 games put in consistent displays at center back or full back. DeLaGarza had two assists this season and is a crucial piece for this squad as they attempt to lift the MLS Cup trophy on Sunday.
5. SEAN FRANKLIN
Sean Franklin was selected along with Bobby Boswell in the first round of last year’s MLS Re-Entry draft, and D.C. United reaped the benefits. Though it took him a while to settle, Franklin continued to be one of the best right backs in MLS, terrorizing defenders moving forward while also continuing to be a strong one-on-one defender. He finished with one goal and four assists in 2014.
What do you think of our selection? Who would you have chosen as MLS Defender of the Year?
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