Top 10 Best Defenders in MLS 2023
Top 10 Best Defenders in MLS 2023: Since the Middle Ages, decent defense has been an important component in the strategic formations of war.
Since soccer is no less than a war, with the field acting as a suitable battleground, we are pleased to present the best 10 defenders in the Major League Soccer of 2023.
Considering that we are just halfway into the 2023 Major League Soccer season, there have already been several amazing defensive performances.
Players who occupy defensive positions are eligible for the MLS Golden Boot 2023, just like players who occupy any other position, however scoring a goal is far less likely for defensive players than keeping the ball from being scored on.
The fact that the opposing team only managed to get a few shots on goal despite the defender’s best efforts is evidence of the defender’s high level of play.
Defenders aren’t expected to be huge goal scorers, but certain individuals, such as Sergio Ramos, can put together a more formidable offensive force than the majority of playmakers.
Today, we have produced a list of the best defenders who are presently playing in Major League Soccer. These players are ones that many managers are keeping an eye on and are contemplating signing to boost the defensive skills of their teams.
A list that is neatly arranged, containing the top ten defenders in the MLS in 2023
In this article on the top 10 MLS defenders of 2023, we have carefully analyzed the playstyle of every defender currently playing in this league and made a list containing the finest players that one can find in this league and candidates of the MLS Defender of the Year award. We hope that you enjoy reading this article and that you find it helpful.
Top 10 Best Defenders in MLS 2023
It is also important to note that certain players do not compete in this league since they are members of MLS teams and are only on loan to other teams in different nations. Now that we have the list, let’s go ahead and introduce ourselves to everyone on it.
Yeimar Gómez -Seattle Sounders FC
If the Golden Boot award was awarded more to players who prevented the ball from going into the net than to those who scored it, then Yeimar would have been an obvious candidate for the honor in the MLS.
Yeimar Pastor Gómez Andrade is a professional footballer from Colombia who is now a member of the Seattle Sounders FC team that competes in Major League Soccer. Gómez made his debut in the professional league for Tiro Federal when he was playing on loan from Rosario Central.
He played with Unión de Santa Fe for a total of 66 games over the course of two and a half seasons. On February 5, 2020, Gómez signed with the Seattle Sounders FC, who competes in Major League Soccer. He has shown to be a formidable opponent when playing in the middle of the defense. He has an excellent feel for the game and is an effective defender when going one-on-one with an opponent.
In the process of making the switch from defense to offensive, he is a lightning-fast player who is able to anticipate and steal passes on the ball. We are looking forward to watching him perform on larger stages, most notably on the MLS Best XI 2022.
Lalas Abubakar-Colorado Rapids
“Lalas” Alhassan Abubakar is a professional footballer from Ghana who now plays center back for the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer. His nickname is “Lalas.” Abubakar was raised in Accra, Ghana’s capital city, despite the fact that he was born in Kumasi.
He received his education at the University of Ghana. He played football for the university, and in 2013, after one of his friends was chosen for the Dayton Flyers program in the United States, Abubakar was given a position in the program when a friend suggested him for it.
Abubakar made the decision to play collegiate soccer with the University of Dayton Flyers in Ohio despite having several offers to do so from several clubs in Europe.
Even at the height of his athletic career, this athlete was always a time bomb waiting to go off.
During the summer months between collegiate soccer seasons, Abubakar was a member of the Charlotte Eagles of the Premier Development League. The club did not suffer a single loss throughout the 2015 campaign. It was clear from this evidence that this athlete was one of the best in his profession.
On November 20, 2019, the Colorado Rapids made a permanent trade for Abubakar to acquire his services. In exchange, the Rapids received $400,000 in General Allocation Money and a seat on their international roster for 2020.
In the opening game of the season for the Rapids, which took place on February 29, he made his official debut for the club against D.C. United. Abubakar began the game with Drew Moor and contributed to the Rapids claiming a road victory by the score of 2–1.
During his debut season with the Rapids, Abubakar made 18 appearances, all of which were starts, and scored one goal. He received this honor from the Colorado Rapids for the second year in a row, making him the Defender of the Year.
All of these things led us to feel that he is among the finest at his position and might very well be one of the contenders for Best Defenders in MLS 2023.
Hollingshead, Ryan-Los Angeles FC
Ryan Hollingshead is a professional soccer player from the United States who currently competes in Major League Soccer for Los Angeles FC as either a midfielder or defender. Hollingshead was a member of the University of California, Los Angeles men’s soccer team from 2009 to 2012. At UCLA, he participated in 81 games, scoring 16 goals and adding 21 assists to his total (53 points).
After being named to the All-Pac-12 team three times over his career (2010–2012), he was selected as the Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2012. After guiding the Bruins to the College Cup semifinals in 2011, Hollingshead was recognized for his efforts by being selected to the NSCAA All-America team in 2012 as well as the NCAA All-Tournament Team in 2011.
In 2012, he was the starting forward for all 19 of UCLA’s games, and he led the team in scoring with 22 points (seven goals and eight assists). He also finished tied for first in goals. The Bruins finished in second place in the Pac-12 with a record of 13-3-3, thanks in large part to the eight assists that were contributed by Hollingshead.
FC Dallas selected Hollingshead in the second round of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, which was the twenty-first overall selection. In spite of an offer from Dallas, Hollingshead turned it down so that he could help his brother build a church in Sacramento and serve at an orphanage in Haiti. Both of these activities were taking place simultaneously. The signing of Hollingshead with Dallas took place on December 9th, 2013.
During the subsequent several seasons, he established himself as a player who was capable of playing a variety of positions, mostly as a fullback or flank on either side of the field.
On February 10, 2022, Los Angeles FC traded Marco Farfan to FC Dallas in order to acquire Hollingshead. Marco Farfan had been with FC Dallas. We have no doubt in our minds that he will excel at this new club just like he excelled in the previous one he played for.
Kyle Smith-Orlando City
One of the players on this list, Kyle Smith, is likely deserving of a spot in the Best Defenders in MLS 2023, despite the fact that he is probably not the player with the most talent.
Kyle Smith is a professional soccer player from the United States who is currently playing for Orlando City in Major League Soccer. He was born in the state of Florida.
At La Salle, Kyle played four years on the varsity soccer team, receiving accolades on the All-Greater Catholic League South Second Team in 2008 and on the All-Greater Catholic League South First Team in 2009. In 2009, he was named the best soccer player in the Greater Catholic League South, and he won the honor.
Smith attended Transylvania University for all four years of his collegiate soccer career, from 2010 to 2013, and he finished his career with a total of 47 goals scored. As a junior, he established a new Transylvania single-season record in both goals scored (18) and points scored (40) with a total of 18 goals and 40 points in a single season.
After tallying 18 goals and eight assists during his senior season, Smith was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Offense for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Before he left Transylvania, he had established himself as the club’s all-time leader in goals, assists, and points. After having a good trial with the United Soccer League team Louisville City, Smith signed his first professional agreement with the club on March 14. He made his debut in the United Soccer League on March 26 against Charlotte.
During the course of the season, the United Soccer League gave him the Rookie of the Year award for the midseason. In 2017, Smith helped Louisville win the USL Cup by defeating Swope Park Rangers, and for his efforts, Smith was awarded the title of Midseason USL Defender of the Year.
On December 19, 2018, Kyle became a member of the Major League Soccer team Orlando City, where he was reunited with head coach James O’Connor, who had left Louisville earlier in the year.
Anton Tinnerholm-New York City FC
Anton Lars Tinnerholm is a Swedish professional footballer who is now a member of New York City FC, where he plays the position of defender. Before moving on to Atvidabergs FF, one of the largest teams in the country, Tinnerholm began his career as a player for the Scotland clubs Brokinds IF and IK stria Lambohov, both of which are located in Scotland.
Tinnerholm joined Atvidaberg in 2008, however he didn’t make his first appearance for the squad in the league until the year after he arrived.
Once making a total of twelve appearances for Atvidaberg in the Superettan, Sweden’s second level, in the 2009 season, he had a much smaller role with the team after they were promoted in the following season.
This player returned to Superettan for the 2011 season, when he played in 28 of the club’s 30 matches as they won the league and were promoted back to Allsvenskan. During that season, the team also gained promotion back to Allsvenskan.
The defender continued to play regularly for the club, making 25 appearances in 2012 and 29 appearances in 2013, contributing to the team’s finish in the middle of the league in both years.
Tinnerholm signed a free agent contract with Major League Soccer team New York City FC on December 13, 2017. On March 11, 2018, he scored his first goal for the club when they played against the LA Galaxy, and on March 31, 2018, he got his second goal when they played against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Jakob Glesnes-Philadelphia Union
Norwegian professional footballer Jakob Glesnes is a member of the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer. He plays the position of defender for the Union. On the 31st of January in the year 2020, Glesnes signed with the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer. Glesnes made news when he scored his first goal for the Union against Los Angeles FC by scoring a free kick from roughly 35 yards out.
After scoring a late equalizer from well outside the 18-yard box on June 20, 2021, this defender helped his team tie the match with Atlanta United for a score of 2-2.
On November 20, he scored a long-range screamer in the 123rd minute against the New York Red Bulls in the first round of the 2021 Major League Soccer Cup Playoffs. This goal sealed a 1–0 victory for the Union and advanced them to the Eastern Conference semifinals. On December 8, 2021, Glesnes and the Union entered with a brand new multi-year contract arrangement that will last through the 2024 season.
Miles Robinson-Atlanta United
Miles Gordon Robinson is a professional soccer player from the United States who now plays in the middle of the defense for Atlanta United of Major League Soccer and for the United States national team.
After having tremendous success on the collegiate level, Robinson decided to take his game to the next level by signing with FC Boston, the Premier Development League affiliate of his former club team, FC Boston Bolts.
On May 21, 2016, he made his first appearance, which was against F.A. Euro. He started the game, which they won 3–1 away. Robinson made a total of six appearances for FC Boston and was selected as the best college prospect defender in the United Soccer League at the season’s end. Robinson played for FC Boston.
On the morning of January 4, 2017, Robinson made the decision to leave Syracuse early and sign a Generation Adidas agreement with Major League Soccer. This opened the door for Robinson to be taken in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. Robinson was selected by Atlanta United on January 13 with the second overall pick in the draft, only one pick behind the first-round selection of Abu Danladi.
After making a brief appearance off the bench for Atlanta United on May 23, 2017, Robinson made his way to United Soccer League team Charleston Battery on a loan for the remainder of the season.
On June 14, 2017, Robinson made his debut for Atlanta United in a US Open Cup match against Charleston Battery, which was the same day that he returned to Atlanta United after a short-term loan with the Battery. He started for Atlanta United with Anton Walkes in their victory of 3-2. Robinson would not play another game for Atlanta United after making his debut in his first professional season.
Robinson made his United Soccer League reserve team debut on March 24, when Atlanta United 2, the club’s United Soccer League reserve affiliate, defeated New York Red Bulls II by a score of 3–1.
After being selected for the MLS Best XI 2019, 2021, he can now relax and take pleasure in his trophies. It is possible that he will be selected to the MLS Best XI in 2022 if he continues to play effectively in the upcoming season.
Jack Elliott-Philadelphia Union
Jack Elliott is the only player to make all three of the best teams on this list, and he will almost certainly be selected for the Best Defenders in MLS 2023.
He is a professional footballer from the United Kingdom who is currently playing for the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer. He was born in the United Kingdom. On January 17, 2017, Elliott was picked by the Philadelphia Union in the fourth round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. This selection placed him 77th overall.
On February 24, 2017, he became a member of the Philadelphia 76ers after signing a contract with the team. Elliott entered the game against D.C. United on April 1 as a substitute for Richie Marquez and made his first appearance in a professional match for the Union.
In the remaining games of the season, Elliott played 30 times for the Union and started 29 of those games. He was the Union’s regular starting quarterback for the rest of the year.
He made his debut in the professional ranks against the San Jose Earthquakes and scored the first goal in a match that ended in a 2–2 tie on the road. Elliott’s first-year play earned him a nomination for the Major League Soccer Rookie of the Year award in 2017, however he ultimately came in third place, behind Abu Danladi and the eventual winner, Julian Gressel.
During his first two seasons with the club, Elliott played for Bethlehem Steel FC, the Union’s squad that competes in the second tier. He made two starts for that team. Elliott earned his first brace of the season for the Union in their win over the New England Revolution, which was a 3–2 victory.
Elliott built a consistent connection alongside Union native center defender Auston Trusty and Mark McKenzie throughout the 2019 season, and he started every match that they played together. In May of 2019, the Union offered him a new contract that would keep him employed until 2021 and includes an extension option for 2022.
He was responsible for scoring the second goal in the Union’s first playoff victory in club history, which was a 4–3 comeback victory over the New York Red Bulls. This victory was the team’s first postseason matchup of the 2019 campaign.
Elliott and the Union were able to secure their first trophy, the Supporters’ Shield for the 2020 season, in spite of the COVID-19 outbreak that plagued the 2020 season. If Elliott had been a forward, he would have been a formidable contender for the award.
Nouhou Tolo-Seattle Sounders FC
Cameroonian professional footballer Nouhou Tolo, usually known simply as Nouhou, is a member of the Cameroon national team as well as the Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer. Tolo now plays for the Sounders FC. Cameroon’s Nouhou participated in the Africa Cup of Nations in 2021 for his country.
The left-back made his debut in the professional ranks in 2015 with Rainbow Bamenda, where he played for the whole 2015–2016 campaign. In April of 2016, Nouhou signed a deal with Seattle Sounders FC 2, which he did after being unable to relocate to the United States due to a contractual dispute in Cameroon about who retained his rights. He was the squad member who played the most minutes and participated in all 24 of the team’s league games.
Nouhou reportedly signed with Seattle Sounders FC on January 26, 2017, according to the club’s general manager Garth Lagerway. He reportedly earned a first-team deal after performing exceptionally well for S2 in 2016.
Nouhou scored his first goal in the professional league on April 15, 2017, while he was on loan to S2. It was the second goal in an away victory over LA Galaxy II, which S2 won 2–1.
On May 31, 2017, Nouhou made his debut with Seattle Sounders FC as a substitute in a match against Columbus Crew. The Sounders fell by a score of 3-0.
Walker Zimmerman-Nashville SC
Who did you think would be at the top of the list? We have welcomed Zimmerman up here to the stage in order to congratulate him on his selection to the MLS Top XI 2022. Zimmerman is currently the best defenders in MLS.
In the 2013 Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft, FC Dallas picked Zimmerman in the first round, placing him seventh overall. On May 11, 2013, he made his first appearance in a professional game as a late substitute in a win against D.C. United by the score of 2–1.
On December 10, 2017, the player, who was then 28 years old, was traded from FC Dallas to Los Angeles FC in exchange for a total of $500,000 in General Allocation Money and $250,000 in Targeted Allocation Money.
Both FC Dallas and Los Angeles FC have swapped places in the allocation rankings, with FC Dallas moving up to number one and Los Angeles FC falling to number eleven. During the 2019 season, Zimmerman worked as an assistant coach for the men’s soccer team that competes for the UCLA Bruins.
On February 11, 2020, the center defender was sent to Nashville SC of Major League Soccer in return for up to $1.25 million in General Allocation Money and a position on the 2020 international roster.
On February 29, 2020, Zimmerman was the player who scored the first goal in Nashville SC history. He was selected for the Major League Soccer Best XI team for the last three seasons in a row and won the title for Defender of the Year in both 2020 and 2021. He is the most deserving candidate to be considered for MLS Best XI 2023 and Best Defenders in MLS 2023.
We appreciate you taking the time to go at our list of the best defenders in the MLS league. In the event that they were given the opportunity to take part in attacking situations, which of these players do you believe would have the best chance of winning the MLS Golden Boot in 2023? Let us know!
Top 10 Best Defenders in MLS 2023- mlsbase.com