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Player Profile #5: Leo Gonzalez

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Everything said that 2013 should be a down year for Leo Gonzalez. There was a decent backup and he was aging. His 2012 was a bit marred by injury. Everything said 2013 would be a down year, everything except Leo Gonzalez himself.

USA TODAY Sports

There weren't glorious numbers that showed Leo Gonzalez was Seattle Sounders FC's Defensive Player of the Year, except for the vote here at Sounder at Heart where 44% of voters said he was exactly that. You also ranked him as the fifth most important player towards 2013's successes.

#5 Leo Gonzalez
Nat'l Affil Costa Rica Age 33
Years Pro 14 Years Sounder 5
Pos/Role Left-back
MLS (+Playoff) Stats CCL/USOC Stats Reserve Stats
Apps 29 4 1
Starts 29 4 1
Mins 2492 360 45
G 0 0 0
A 1 0 0
PP/90 0.04 -- --
Advanced Stats
Off Pass % Net Shot Rate Net Duel Rate
Total 59% -0.47 1.94
Team Rank 14th 13th 5th

#5 Leo Gonzalez

The one time Costa Rican National Team member is now on the outside looking at a player doing worse than he is in MLS, but earning time for the nation. Leo does not seem distracted by that and instead continues to earn a quality paycheck and put in the work necessary to lead the defense.

Offense: Leo no longer gets forward like he did in 2009 and 2010. This is probably the biggest change as he's aged. Still decent at small interplay. Not a good crosser for a wide player. Does not shoot on goal.

Defense: Gonzalez is surprising good at standing up on-rushing wingers. As they put their head down to sprint past him he gets in their way and the attack stalls out. Strong positional awareness. Willing to foul to stop the opposing flow. Great tackler. Good at slipping a foot in from behind to poke a ball away. Willing to use the dark arts to win challenges and duels.

Physique: He's lost speed, but still has a bit of quickness. Uses his size well during run of play, but lacks leaping ability to be important during dead balls.

Best Case 2014: Can he be the man he was in 2013? Probably not, but the idea that he's just going to fade away may have to be rethought. Leo's career seems like it will have a long tail.