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Sporting KC’s Matt Besler named MLS Defender of the Year

Sporting Kansas City v Montreal Impact

MONTREAL, CANADA - JULY 4: Sanna Nyassi #11 of the Montreal Impact hold onto Matt Besler #5 of the Sporting Kansas City during the MLS match at the Saputo Stadium on July 4, 2012 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

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Two years ago, Sporting Kansas City’s Matt Besler made a starting appearance in Major League Soccer’s All-Star game down in Houston against Manchester United.

It was a teeny bit cheap, in all honesty. Not that Besler was horribly undeserving, but he probably wasn’t one of the league’s top two center backs that season. Fan voting that we will call “spirited and highly organized” assisted the Notre Dame man – and fair enough for that. It’s an All-Star game, after all, not a Senatorial election.

But Besler, who just completed his fourth professional season, just keeps ticking up the improvement scale. The just-completed season at Livestrong Sporting Park was easily his best.

He wasn’t the ProSoccerTalk choice as Defender of the Year, but his work around Livestrong certainly advanced to the point where Besler being named MLS Defender of the Year doesn’t look at bit out of place.

(MORE: ProSoccerTalk’s Defender of the Year conversation.)

Sporting Kansas City led MLS in fewest goals allowed with 27. Consider also that goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen started all 34 games for Sporting KC, and yet was no higher than 15th in saves.

Translation: guys like Besler were doing everything and then some to keep the heat off their back-stopper.