Major League Soccer announced today that FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges has been named the 2016 MLS Defender of the Year.
The veteran center back beat out the likes of LA’s Jelle van Damme and Colorado’s Axel Sjoberg. FC Dallas center back Walker Zimmerman also came in fourth place in the race for the top defender this season.
Hedges picked up an average of 24% of the vote between the media, players and front office staff around the league. Hedges picked up a large portion of the club and players vote to help win the award.
The 26-year-old American had another standout year, leading Dallas to victory in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the club’s first title since 1998, followed by a Supporters’ Shield title. With his stellar defensive play, Hedges helped Dallas become the first team in MLS history to record consecutive 60-plus point seasons along with back-to-back appearances in CONCACAF Champions League.
With Hedges in the lineup, Dallas recorded a dominant 13-4-9 record, giving up 23 goals in his 26 games played, an average of 0.88 goals allowed per game. During a Hedges absence due to injury, Dallas compiled a 4-4-0 record and conceded 17 goals in eight matches for a mark of 2.125 goals allowed per game. Dallas also recorded 11 of its 12 shutouts this season with Hedges in the starting lineup, allowing 40 goals across the course of the season, tied for fourth best in MLS.
Overall this is a well deserved win for Hedges and the FC Dallas defense.