With A.J. Soares relocating to Norway, the New England Revolution won't have a repeat for their Defender of the Year award. There are plenty of solid candidates though, including former league Defender of the Year Jose Goncalves. As a preview for the season, the staff at TBM is offering their predictions for who will wear the crown at year's end.
Chris Tierney (Seth)
The Goncalves-Farrell partnership has been one of the top preseason story lines, but the regular season will belong to Tierney. A consistent, but not flashy, contributor, Tierney will forever be underrated. Need proof? Consider that Tierney completed 79 percent of his pass attempts last year, according to Squawka.com. Although he's a solid defender, it's Tierney's offensive moments that typically gain the most attention. The Massachusetts native's free kick abilities were on full display on November 1st when he scored a beautiful curler against the Columbus Crew. His most meaningful goal, however, came during the MLS Cup Final against the LA Galaxy. Now entering his 8th season with the Revs, fans should expect more of the same from Tierney, and that should be enough for him to collect Defender of the Year honors.
Andrew Farrell (Jake)
This could be Farrell's breakout season as he'll be playing a new position for a team that is considered one of the favorites in the East. Farrell showed some inconsistency in the middle of the field while deputizing for an injured Goncalves early last year, and those mistakes often led to opponent goals. But with his game experience from last season and a full preseason working next to Goncalves, Farrell's athleticism and skill set will be highlighted in the middle of the field. Look for Farrell to dribble forward and cause havoc when he does. His passing is also worth noting as he has a keen ability to find space for his teammates. Defensively, he can put out just as many fires as Soares did last season but you have to hope that he's not creating some of those fires as well.
Bobby Shuttleworth (Jonathan)
The big man between the posts emerged as a viable number one for Jay Heaps last year. With Soares gone and an unproven partnership between Farrell and Goncalves, expect Bobby to see plenty of shots come his way in the early portion of the season. He'll be called into action often, making his typical athletic saves, and giving the Revs a chance to essentially outscore their opponents. Without Shuttleworth's presence behind the defense the Revs could very well falter.