Just over a year ago it was announced that Marshall was acquired from Toronto by Seattle for allocation money (salary cap exempt monies). Generally TFC fans were giddy, they loved that they were going to cast aside a veteran centerback for free money. Yesterday, the Sounders announced that Marshall was named the team Defender of the Year as voted on by his teammates.
Marshall started 27 of 29 appearances this season, anchored a defense which tied for 1st in goals allowed per game (0.97) and 2nd in shutouts (10). He also contributed two goals and two assists. Marshall will enter the 2010 season 15th in MLS all-time regular season games played (274), 9th amongst active players. He is 21st in minutes played (21,930), 12th amongst active players. Marshall was twice named Defender of the Year by the L.A. Galaxy (2004, 2005), and he was a finalist for MLS Defender of the Year in 2005.
He was the defensive leader on a young backline (avg 26 years of age without Marshall, 26.25 amongst starting defensive players without Marshall). It is likely due to that leadership that his peers voted him the best defender on the club, but his play on the pitch definitely put him in the top 3 (Hurtado and Alonso the others).
Offense: Marshall will only enter the offense on set-plays. In run-of-play situations he is there to stop the counter by winning the long punt and preventing momentum. When starting the counter Marshall will pass to the wingbacks or up to the defensive mid, it is not his role to take a man on with the ball at his own feet. Tyrone does average a goal and an assist a year over his 15 year career.
Defense: Marshall has two primary functions defensively. First is to manage the line, more so than Keller it is Marshall who conducts the traps and decides on the high-line. When he was out due to injury the duty became shared, but with Tyrone on the pitch it is generally his call. His second primary defensive role is the to win those aerial 50/50 balls and interrupt the opposing flow. He has a strong body and enjoys getting physical, and those long punts are much less of a threat when he plays than when he does not. Marshall is not as good when the ball is at his man's feet, almost certainly due to age. Marshall, like Riley, is prone to get a card every couple of weeks, generally in the retribution mold.
Set-Plays: Marshall is an added target head on corners, but is only rarely brought up on free kicks. Both of his goals and tallied his assists on the corner, and was a key component of why Sounders FC were the best corner team in the league (+7 GD on corners). He will typically man up the target forward of the opposing side, and does a fine job at that (0 GAA on the set-play).
Defining Moment: I'm torn between two "highlights," and neither were a goal, nor a defensive move. First was the own-goal on a poor clearance against DC United here in Seattle. It hurts me as a fan, and sticks in my head. It was also the kind of own-goal that many players can and do get. The other was the little bit of gamesmanship that Marshall and Gonzalez did on GBS. Sure, it earned him a fine, but it also earned Seattle a win.
Short Term Peak - Marshall is in his post-peak era, but is still a likley starter for this year and next. Don't expect to see him much in non-league competitions.
Thoughts on Marshall's past season/winning the team defender of year? Thoughts on his future?