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Player Profile: #2 Chad Marshall

Despite leading a defense that leaks goals, Marshall won the 2014 MLS Defensive Player of the Year. He was the first to win it three times.

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year won his fourth Supporters' Shield.
The three-time Defensive Player of the Year won his fourth Supporters' Shield.
Mike Russell

Seattle Sounders FC had good defenders in the past. Hurtado's 09 season, Parke's full time with the club, Tyrone Marshall started off strong, but none are on the level of Chad Marshall. Marshall redefined defensive success in Rave Green.

In 2014 fans learned that one-man cannot defend alone, but he can make a bad situation workable. Marshall's backline changed regularly. The most constant of the four alongside was flashy wingback Yedlin who only played in 83% of Marshall's MLS starts. Gonzalez on the left started 69% of games with Marshall. Scott was the most common centerback pairing and he only started 57% of Chad's games. Four other players played seven other roles along that line. It leaked, but the iron core was a man who became the Air Marshall, master of defense.

Chad Marshall graphic


Hey there good passer! Marshall's 83% pass success is not tops in MLS among CBs, but it is strong. He quickly restarts attacking action with short balls and headers. Chad avoids using the long ball, and was the MLS CB that played more than half the games with the lowest number of attempted long balls in 2014. He does not range forward. He's a huge threat on set-pieces, though with only one goal he regularly threatened.


There's a few levels to defense. The basic one is don't let the other guy shoot. Another level stops him from passing. Better yet, don't let that forward touch the ball. Better still is to let the opponent think that forward can get the ball in a dangerous area and instead take the ball away from them to start your own attack. That's what Marshall does, by ground or in the air. Two players won more aerial duels than Marshall, none intercepted the ball on the ground as much as he did. Chad did that while committing the fourth least fouls by a common CB, and suffering more fouls than any other. He dominated the opposition like no one else in the league. Others had good years, no one else had a great year. On set-pieces Marshall is most often a free man who will address where the ball goes, win it and start an attack. He doesn't mark men; he marks zones. His zone is the 18 yard box.


He's a tank. Marshall has a quick enough first step, but does not have the speed of Seattle's past best CBs. If you want a player to run through a wall, that's Chad.

Best Case 2015:

A fourth Defensive Player of the Year and a call to the United States National Team.

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