CARSON, Calif. - Playing as a defender in MLS is often times a thankless job. Oftentimes the only occasion a defender gets noticed is when he's out of position, gets beaten by an attacker, or has the misfortune of knocking in an own goal.
Doing your job effectively will hardly get you noticed. Usually the only way a defender can get his name mentioned in a positive light is when they score the rare goal from a set piece, or make a daring foray into the attacking third.
This year in Los Angeles, Todd Dunivant has had a quiet year. Picked up in the offseason from San Jose, the young defender worked his way into the starting 11 during the preseason. Yet what might have gone unnoticed is that Dunivant has played in every regular season game this year, the only player on the Galaxy to do so. He's done so with phenomenal consistency from his left fullback position, effectively shutting down the right side of any opposition.
He's a valued commodity in the Southland, and head coach Steve Sampson is very pleased to have him on the roster.
"He's played more minutes than anyone on this team, he and Kevin Hartman," said Sampson. "He's the type of player there aren't many of in this country, and I'm happy we have one of them."
Dunivant simply goes out every game and gets the job done on the field. Off the field he's very unassuming as well, always putting the team first. His workmanlike attitude has made him one of the front runners for defender of the year within the Galaxy locker room. Still personal accolades aren't on the mind of Dunivant.
"It's definitely what you shoot for. You never know what's going to happen. Things have to go just right for you in terms of injuries, fortune and form," said Dunivant. "Fortunately the cards have fallen right and it's been a good year for me. The best part is hopefully still to come."
What Dunivant is referring to is the MLS Cup Playoffs, and an opportunity to win a rare double. The Galaxy have already won the U.S. Open Cup this year, and now have their sights set on making a playoff run at another MLS Cup.
Dunivant's coach in L.A. also knows that his left back's play in the postseason could garner the attention of another notable U.S. coach.
"He's (Dunivant) is on the radar and I know he'll (Bruce Arena) be looking at the playoffs and how he plays in the playoff as to whether he'll be invited into (U.S. national team) camp or not," said Sampson. "Given what a great need it is on the national team at left back, I think Todd should be one they're looking at."
Dunivant knows he's on the cusp of wearing both the Green and Gold as well as the Red, White, and Blue in a rare opportunity to play for both club and country. It's business as usual for the Colorado native.
"I think I'm on the radar. There's nothing I can do about that," said Dunivant. "I just have to keep playing here and taking care of business. If (Arena) gives me a call, all the better."
Greg Daurio is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.