Well we don’t get too many chances to highlight the league’s best defenders here at the STO, but this week it was announced that Chad Marshall of the Columbus Crew was named MLS 2009 Defender of the Year. It was a great regular season for Marshall and the Crew and like all winners of the award being on a strong team is part of the criteria. The Crew is already winners of the Supporters Shield and therefore have the best record of any MLS squad entering the playoffs. Also the Crew had one of their best defensive seasons in their franchise history and the total goals conceded this season was the third best in the league entering this weekend. In fact Columbus has only given up 31 goals this entire season.
And Marshall is obviously a critical part of that level of success. Marshall actually only played in 18 matches this season due to a brief injury and also he was promoted to four matches as an international player for the United States. But ever since Marshall entered the league in 2004 as a second round pick he has made an immediate impact.
That rookie season he helped anchor the toughest defense in the league (he played next to Robin Fraser the 2004 Defender of the Year) and Marshall was given the respect that he deserves. At the end of 2004, Marshall was the runner-up for the Rookie of the Year Award. He was edged out by who other then Clint Dempsey now of the Premier League Fulham Cottagers.
But these days Chad Marshall is quite simply the best MLS Defender (at least this season). Congats Mr. Marshall. Now onto the real hardware…