Anton Tinnerholm - NYCFC - right back

MLS Defender of the Year, it’s not just for center backs anymore.


That’s the rallying cry of Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle on Extratime as he broke down who he thought should win that award this season.



While acknowledging Walker Zimmerman of Nashville SC as a co-favorite, Doyle gave some love for New York City FC right back Anton Tinnerholm for the award.


A fullback for MLS Defender of the Year? Doyle explains why.

“For the vast majority of the year, he was NYCFC’s best defender and best attacker,” Doyle said. “Nobody had a larger workload and was more integral to his team’s success other than maybe Walker Zimmerman. And it wasn’t just, ‘oh, he had this large workload,’ it’s that he was best or second best attacking as a fullback, best or second best at defending as a right back as well for a team that is probably going to have a home game [in the playoffs], not for a team that’s an also-ran.”


As a history lesson, center backs have dominated the voting for much of the award’s 24 years. In fact, the only fullback to win the award was Jeff Agoos in 2001 for the San Jose Earthquakes, though even he featured all across the backline.


While he gave his argument, Doyle also believes the center back dominance trend will continue.


“[Tinnerholm] probably won’t even get Best XI. That’s just the way it works,” Doyle said, predicting Zimmerman, Mark McKenzie and Jonathan Mensah would likely be voted.

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