Sporting KC's Besler named 2012 Defender of the Year

The local boy made good.

On Tuesday, MLS named Sporting KC center back and Kansas City native Matt Besler the 2012 Defender of the Year award, rewarding the 25-year-old for anchoring MLS' best defense and leading his hometown side to a first-place finish in the Eastern Conference for the second straight regular season.

In his fourth year as a professional, Besler started 30 games for Sporting manager Peter Vermes, adding two assists and accumulating only three yellow cards in 2,769 minutes of action.

SKC led MLS in fewest goals against, picking the ball out of the back of their own net just 27 times in 2012. Behind those efforts, they recorded 15 shutouts and finished second in the league behind San Jose with 63 points.

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After establishing himself as a full-time starter in 2011, Besler's continued growth this season earned him his first call-up to the US national team, as the Notre Dame product watched from the bench at Estadio Azteca when Jurgen Klinsmann's side registered a historic victory back in August.

Besler edged out San Jose's Víctor Bernárdez, who was the top vote-getter for the award in the club and player categories, by easily winning the media vote with nearly 50 percent of the ballots cast.

SKC teammate Aurélien Collin finished third, and Vancouver's Jay DeMerit and Philadelphia's Carlos Valdés rounded out the top five.

PLAYER % Club Votes % Media Votes % Player Votes WEIGHTED TOTAL
1. Matt Besler (SKC) 10.35 46.97 13.19 70.51
2. Víctor Bernárdez (SJ) 32.76 15.15 16.48 64.39
3. Aurélien Collin (SKC) 22.41 13.64 12.08 48.13
4. Jay DeMerit (VAN) 6.90 6.06 9.89 22.85
5. Carlos Valdés (PHI) 6.90 4.55 4.40 15.85