The Best Defenders in MLS: 2019 Spring Season

The Spring season has come to an end and we now know what some players are capable of. This list features some names who are proving their worth in this league and some old ones who keep proving why they’re the best in business. These players have shown us glimpses of their potential in this short season and are destined for success in the Fall season.


The 3-5-2 formation provides a lot of opportunity for the players on the wings to get on the score sheet and also pick up clean sheet points in the process. A good example is Minnesota United right-back Romain Metanire who finished the season with the highest involvement in goals by a defender with 1 goal and 6 assists to go with 5 clean sheets. Seattle Sounders right-back Kelvin Leerdam has also had a great start to the season and is involved in more goals than left-back counterpart Brad Smith because he loves to move inside the box and score goals. Another standout so far this season has been Shea Salinas, he has lead the revival of this San Jose Earthquakes team with his performances and the position change under Matias Almeyda from right-back to right-wing has really worked wonders for him.



When it comes to center-backs, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez tops the list with 105 points in fantasy. He loves moving forward and is a constant threat from set-pieces, but has mostly been involved in defensive work this season. Atlanta’s defense drastically improved mid-season and they even enjoyed a run of 5 consecutive clean sheets where Pirez played a pivotal role. Steve Birnbaum has been vital to this D.C. United team plagued with injuries and was rewarded for his consistency, nabbing 102 points in the process which is the second highest for a defender this season. USMNT center-back Walker Zimmerman has been a force at the heart of the defense for LAFC. His set-piece threat coupled with the ability to generate bps and get clean sheets makes him a great option almost every week.



The last man standing on the best defense in MLS, Atlanta United’s Brad Guzan has been an absolute wall this season and his league-high 8 clean sheets speaks for itself. Guzan’s performances can only be matched by rival Bill Hamid. Hamid’s consistent performances and moments of individual brilliance have proven that he is one of the best keepers in MLS. He also made 67 saves (1st in the league for saves) compared to Guzan’s 33 (18th). Hamid finishes the Spring season with 97 points which is the highest for a keeper this season.

Players to watch out for: Jorge Moreira (Portland Timbers), Franco Escobar (Atlanta United), Jack Elliot (Philadelphia Union), Amro Tarek (New York Red Bulls) and Anton Tinnerholm (New York City FC).

Best defenses in MLS this season

Rank Team Games played  Goals conceded Clean sheets
1 Atlanta United 15 11 8
2 D.C. United logoD.C. United 17 18 7
3 LAFC logoLAFC 16 13 6
4 New York City FC logoNYCFC 14 17 6
5 Montreal Impact logoMontreal Impact 18 28 6

About Trevor Baretto

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