2014 Season Preview Predictions - Defensive Player of the Year

Even the greats let in goals. Who will prevent this from happening in 2014? - Gail Oskin

As Sounder at Heart continues to exam the changes of the offseason through polling the focus moves to goal prevention. Defending is not just for those called "defenders" and with some doubts about the starters in these roles the choices are broad and, due to talent, narrow.

In 2013 the defense was unusually average, or good with two bad games. It kind of depends how you look at things. There were reasons to be worried. One defender lacked lateral speed. Another starter brokedown late in the year. On the other side of defense good/bad Alonso was Alonso. Leo Gonzalez had his best season by far and in fact was recognized by readers as the best defensive player on Seattle Sounders FC in 2013.

This season brings changes. There is a battle between Stefan Frei and Marcus Hahnemann for the starting keeper spot. Jalil Anibaba's acquisition provides competition for Djimi Traore to pair with former two-time MLS Defensive Player of the Year Chad Marshall. Osvaldo Alonso still exists. Leo Gonzalez returns as well, but is now challenged by Dylan Remick. Maybe the biggest wildcard in defense is the question as to whether DeAndre Yedlin's on-man defense will improve enough to make him a World Cup player.

Within the halls of the Sounder at Heart offices (we don't have offices) those choices only wound up as two results. For all the love that Ozzie gets in this space only one-third of staffers voted him as the likely DPY. It was a rather quiet move that brought C.Marshall here, but at the end of the season it is one that these writers feel will be the key to a return to having one of the best defenses in the league again.

Great players on the goal prevention side of soccer don't tend to earn glory and highlight reels. They do make differences on a season though. Having a couple shut-down defenders changes the game.

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