Matt Besler wins 2012 MLS Defender of the Year

Richard Wolowicz

Sporting KC defender just edges out Victor Bernardez to be named the top defender in MLS.

Matt Besler has been named the 2012 MLS Defender of the Year on Sunday, just edging out Victor Bernardez. The Sporting Kansas City center back actually only won one of the three voting blocs, but Besler won the media vote by such a wide margin that finishing second among players and third among the clubs didn't matter in the end.

Besler was the top defender on a team that led the league in goals allowed, giving up six fewer than any other team. Sporting KC's defense was so good, in fact, that Besler's center back partner Aurilien Collin finished third in voting and actually finished 12 percentage points ahead of his teammate among the clubs.

While Besler seemed to be the beneficiary of his club's play, Bernardez seems to have been about individual play. The Earthquakes defense was necessarily much better this year than it was a year ago, but in games Bernardez played they allowed about a third of a goal fewer per game.

Player (Club)

% of Club Votes

% of Media Votes

% of Player Votes

Weighted Total

Matt Besler (SKC)

10.35

46.97

13.19

70.51

Victor Bernardez (SJ)

32.76

15.15

16.48

64.39

Aurelien Collin (SKC)

22.41

13.64

12.08

48.13

Jay DeMerit (VAN)

6.90

6.06

9.89

22.85

Carlos Valdes (PHI)

6.90

4.55

4.40

15.85

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