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Top 10 defenders to watch out for in MLS 2024

Published at :February 29, 2024 at 11:40 PM
Modified at :February 29, 2024 at 11:40 PM
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Some of the top talents in the backline of MLS 2024 teams

As the 2024 Major League Soccer (MLS) season kicks off, soccer enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the performances of the league’s top defenders. These players have proven their mettle on the field, showcasing skill, determination, and an uncanny ability to impact the game. Let’s explore the profiles of the top 10 defenders to keep an eye on in MLS 2024.

10. Alvaro Barreal (FC Cincinnati)

Topping our list is Álvaro Barreal, whose incredible performance in the 2023 season has caught the attention of European clubs. Playing as an outside back, Barreal created more expected assisted goals than all but eight players in the league. His game-changing displays, coupled with FC Cincinnati’s defensive shape, make him a potent force on the field.

As the summer transfer window looms, Barreal is a player to watch, and his impact on FC Cincinnati’s 2024 campaign could be nothing short of sensational.

9. Robin Jansson (Orlando City)

Robin Jansson, known for his elite distribution and excellent 1-v-1 defending, is a crucial part of Orlando City‘s defensive setup. With an impressive challenge efficiency rating among MLS centre-backs, Jansson rarely loses his man.

His left-footed prowess in both defending and ball-carrying makes him a standout player for Orlando City. A well-deserved contract extension during the offseason solidifies Jansson’s importance to the team.

8. Steven Moreira (Columbus Crew)

Shifting to a right-sided centre-back role, Steven Moreira showcased his versatility and became an elite possession centre-back for Columbus Crew in 2023. His ability to carry the ball forward and break lines with precise passing adds a unique dimension to Columbus’s build-up play.

As an anchor for the team, Moreira is poised to continue his fantastic performances in the 2024 season.

7. Juan Mosquera (Portland Timbers)

Colombian international Juan Mosquera, at just 21, has become a force to be reckoned with in the Portland Timbers’ defence. His impressive on-ball skill, strength, and speed make him a nightmare for opposing defences. With a successful first full season, Mosquera aims to establish himself as one of MLS’s top defenders in 2024.

6. Omar Campos (Los Angeles FC)

Omar Campos, a standout for Santos Laguna, made his senior debut for Mexico in December 2023. Known for his solid performances, Campos played a crucial role in the Leagues Cup 2023, contributing to both draws against Houston Dynamo and Orlando City. As he continues to develop, Campos is set to be a key figure for Los Angeles FC.

5. Miles Robinson (FC Cincinnati)

Opting to stay in MLS and join FC Cincinnati, Miles Robinson faces high expectations. With competitors in Europe, Robinson’s decision to remain in MLS showcases his commitment to his team. As a centrepiece of what could be the league’s best defence, Robinson aims to prove he can be a Defender of the Year-level player and secure a spot in the USMNT.

4. Tomas Aviles (Inter Miami CF)

Argentine centre-back Tomas Aviles has proven his worth with a crucial tying goal against New York City Football Club. A versatile defender, Avilés has been a reliable asset for Inter Miami CF. As he continues to evolve in the MLS, his performances will undoubtedly be key to his team’s success.

3. Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)

A consistent force at the back for Nashville since 2020, Walker Zimmerman boasts 105 clearances and seven clean sheets in the 2023 MLS season. Known for his defensive prowess and threat in set pieces, Zimmerman’s two goals and one assist demonstrate his well-rounded capabilities.

With a contract through 2024, expect Zimmerman to continue leading the defensive line for Nashville in the upcoming season.

2. Jordi Alba (Inter Miami CF)

A legend on the European stage with FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team, Jordi Alba has brought his expertise to Inter Miami CF. In the Leagues Cup semifinal, Alba showcased his skill and cleverness, leaving an indelible mark with a goal in added time of the first half.

Recently signing a contract extension through the 2024 season, Alba’s commitment signals his crucial role in Inter Miami’s journey, promising more stellar performances in the upcoming season.

1. Caleb Wiley (Atlanta United)

At just 18 years old, Caleb Wiley has quickly risen through the ranks, securing a spot on the Senior United States Men’s National Team. In the 2023 MLS season, Wiley had a breakout year, making 30 appearances and earning four goals and four assists from his left-back position. His remarkable performance, including a two-goal, one-assist masterpiece against Charlotte FC, earned him the MLS Player of the Matchday for Matchday 3. With a bright future ahead, Wiley is poised to continue making waves in MLS.

In MLS 2024, these defenders promise to deliver thrilling performances, showcasing their unique skills and contributing significantly to their teams’ success. The league is set for an exciting season as these players continue to raise the bar for defensive excellence.

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