CARSON, Calif. (Wednesday, November 9, 2011) – Major League Soccer announced today that LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez has been selected as the MLS Defender of the Year. The first Galaxy player to win the award since Robin Fraser did in 1999; Gonzalez beat out fellow finalists Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave from Real Salt Lake to win the award for the first time in his three-year MLS career. Selected as a finalist for the award for the second consecutive season, he becomes the youngest player in MLS history to be selected as the league’s Defender of the Year.
One of the most physically imposing central defenders in MLS, Gonzalez enjoyed his finest season in a Galaxy uniform, helping the Galaxy win their second consecutive Supporters’ Shield while allowing an MLS-low 28 goals in 34 regular season contests. With Gonzalez appearing in and starting 29 of the club’s 34 games, the Galaxy equaled a league record by recording 17 clean sheets and setting a club record by allowing just 0.82 goals per game, which was the third lowest goals allowed per game average in MLS history. Voted the Galaxy’s Defender of the Year by the local media for the second consecutive season, Gonzalez has played every minute of LA’s three postseason games so far, helping lead the Galaxy to a second MLS Cup berth in his three years with the club.
Named to the MLS All-Star First XI for the second straight season, though he was forced to miss the game with an injury, Gonzalez was also instrumental in the Galaxy’s success on attacking set pieces, tying a career-high with two goals while also adding an assist. The 23-year-old added two more goals and another assist, all from set pieces, in non-league competitions, scoring once in the Champions League while recording a goal and an assist in the 2-1 win over the L.A. Blues in the Third Round of the U.S. Open Cup, with the Galaxy recording a perfect 4-0-0 record this season when he scored a goal.
Including the postseason, the Galaxy are 25-5-9 in the 39 games that the Dallas-native has played in all competitions, compared to 2-3-1 in the six games that he has missed.
Gonzalez and the rest of the Galaxy will look to win their third MLS Cup in club history and first since 2005 on Sunday, November 20 when they take on the Houston Dynamo in MLS Cup 2011. That game, which is schedule to start at 6 p.m., will be played at The Home Depot Center and can be seen live on ESPN and Galavision in the United States and in more than 100 countries around the world. For more information about MLS Cup 2011, please visit www.lagalaxy.com or www.mlssoccer.com.
PHOTO GALLERY: Omar Gonzalez
MLS Defender of the Year Winners:
2011: Omar Gonzalez – Los Angeles Galaxy
2010: Jamison Olave – Real Salt Lake
2009: Chad Marshall – Columbus Crew
2008: Chad Marshall – Columbus Crew
2007: Michael Parkhurst – New England Revolution
2006: Bobby Boswell – D.C. United
2005: Jimmy Conrad – Kansas City Wizards
2004: Robin Fraser – Columbus Crew
2003: Carlos Bocanegra – Chicago Fire
2002: Carlos Bocanegra – Chicago Fire
2001: Jeff Agoos – San Jose Earthquakes
2000: Peter Vermes – Kansas City Wizards
1999: Robin Fraser – Los Angeles Galaxy
1998: Lubos Kubik – Chicago Fire
1997: Eddie Pope – D.C. United
1996: John Doyle – San Jose Earthquakes