Major League Soccer announced today that LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez was voted the 2011 MLS Defender of the Year.
Gonzalez appeared in 29 games this season for the Galaxy, anchoring a defense that allowed just 28 goals in 2011, the fewest allowed by an MLS club this season. Gonzalez, 23, is the youngest player to win this award. Four previous winners (Eddie Pope, Carlos Bocanegra, Bobby Boswell, and Michael Parkhurst) were 23 at the time, but Gonzalez turned 23 on Oct. 11 and thus is the youngest.
The Galaxy’s goals-against average (0.82) was third best in MLS history – only Real Salt Lake in 2010 (0.67) and Houston Dynamo in 2007 (0.77) were better. The club’s 17 regular season shutouts tied the League record set by Kansas City in 2000.
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Now in his third professional season, the 2009 MLS Rookie of the Year continued to develop as a threat on offensive set pieces, scoring twice and adding an assist this season. In the final Castrol Index for the 2011 season, Gonzalez was the highest-rated defender and fourth overall in MLS with a score of 9.17 out of a possible 10. Gonzalez was named to the MLS All-Star First XI this year.