Attackers grab the headlines while defenders do the dirty work. Today we give defenders a little love by predicting who will be the New England Revolution’s best defender in 2018.
Seth: Claude Dielna
I wasn’t sure what to make of Dielna going into this season. The defender paired well with Antonio Delamea last year, but it was hard to judge if he was worth the big-money contract he was given in July 2017. Since then, I’ve come to appreciate Dielna’s ability to read and boss the game. It appears that he will don the captain’s armband this year, which is a symbol of how he’s viewed by his teammates and coaches.
Jonathan: Claude Dielna
When speaking to Andrew Farrell before the Revs’ preseason trip to Arizona, he said Dielna’s leadership and presence reminds hi of what Jermaine Jones brought to the group in 2014. That speaks volumes to how well-respected the Frenchman is within New England’s locker room, and I fully expect his partnership with Antonio Delamea to thrive. They don’t form the most-formidable center back partnershp in the league, but Dielna is the type of player you can build a defense around. His league-wide recognition will grow, too.
Sean: Claude Dielna
I’ve been a huge of Claude Dielna right from the start. He possesses a strong physical presence, good with the ball at his feet, and is strong in all defensive aspects. Aerially he’s dominant with his size but also athletic enough to defend 1v1’s straight-up. The Revolution defense will be built around Dielna and it’s likely he’ll be our next and first captain under Brad Friedel.
Nick: Cody Cropper
Statistically speaking, Cropper turned in the worst season of any MLS goalkeeper last season, according to American Soccer Analysis. He also picked up plenty of criticism from Revolution fans. But for most of the season, Cropper played behind an undisciplined and ever-revolving back line that never found consistent chemistry. He also suffered a pair of shorthanded losses by a combined 12 goals, outcomes that significantly skewed his final stat sheet. According to the eye test, Cropper has all the tools to become a high-end MLS goalkeeper. He makes sound decisions, explodes off his back foot and reacts with above average speed, all while benefiting from a strong 6-foot-4 frame.
In 2018, Cropper will have a chance to mature under a coach who played 450 Premier League matches between the sticks. I think he’ll surprise fans en route to a memorable second season in Foxboro.
Jake: Gabriel Somi
Fullbacks are now judged not by how well the defend, but also by how much they contribute to the offense. Chris Tierney has been a stalwart on the left flank for New England and Tierney is usually good for a goal or two and five assists a year. If Somi can bump those numbers up just a little bit, that would be a huge boost for the Revs on top of the defense he’s going to provide. Somi doesn’t need to put up Justin Morrow numbers (the TFC defender had 8 goals last year), but if he’s close to double digit assists or involved in a lot of build up down the left flank the actual defensive stats could be a bonus to put him over the top to win this award for the Revs.
Who will be the Revolution’s defender of the year?
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Other (let us know in the comments section)