Alvas Powell | Defender | Portland Timbers | Age: 21
Last Year in 24 Under 24: n/a
2015 Stats: Matches played: 27 - Goals: 0 - Assists: 1
The fullback position has changed drastically over the last 20 years, and perhaps nobody in MLS is a better example of said change than Portland's Alvas Powell. Thanks to the dominance of four-back sets, most teams use their fullbacks to provide attacking width but still retain defensive solidity, which requires pace, power and an understanding of the game's shape.
Powell has the first two in abundance, and he is working on the third. The only things that kept him from being higher on this list are concerns about his mentality after he walked out of the Jamaican national team during the CONCACAF Gold Cup – the type of petulance that several on the voting panel found impossible to overlook.
What the technical staffers say: "The thing that attracts your eye is that he’s unbelievably athletic. He gets forward with speed and power, he can recover in defending, he can cause you problems on both sides of the ball just physically.
"I think he’s better than I thought he was reading the game. He still struggles when you're able to pull him up a little, and he's still a little hit-and-miss when he gets forward, delivering consistently. But he's growing, and the potential is there.”
What Opta Sports says: Alvas Powell ranks second in MLS with 112 tackles so far in 2015, 25 more than third-ranked Dax McCarty (87).
- READ: Powell's evolution continues for club and country
- WATCH: Powell makes a brilliant run, can't finish it off
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