While the goal-scorers tend to get all the glory, these guys helped their respective teams have some of the strongest defenses in the league. A good defense can win games, and these guys have helped their teams win plenty of games.
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Matt Hedges, FC Dallas
Matt Hedges is back in contention for the top defender award in MLS and it's no surprise. He made the shortlist last year and has been part of one of arguably the best centerback pairings in MLS alongside Walker Zimmerman in one of the league's best defenses.
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Axel Sjoberg, Colorado Rapids
Axel Sjoberg has been a beast for the Rapids as they've allowed the fewest goals of any team this season. At 6-foot-7, he provides a serious aerial presence and, in addition to his obvious 1v1 defending skills, he has been good at helping Colorado play out the back at times.
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Jelle Van Damme, LA Galaxy
Jelle Van Damme has had a long career at places like Ajax and Anderlecht, but he has stepped into the Galaxy squad this season and fit right in. A versatile defender, his 1v1 is top notch and his physicality is a strong asset. Oh, and he nutmegged a defender and assisted a goal in the playoffs. That doesn't count toward the award, which is only for the regular season, but it was pretty cool.