Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler was named the 2012 MLS Defender of the Year on Tuesday after helping his club post the best defensive record in the league.
The 25-year-old Besler appeared in 31 matches this season, helping Kansas City allow just 27 goals in 34 games - or less than one per match. Seattle Sounders FC was second in goals allowed with 33.
A center back, Besler also tied a career high with two assists. He has played 103 matches during his four-year career, including 98 starts. He has two goals and four assists in his career.
"I am very humbled, yet ecstatic, to be honored as MLS Defender of the Year," Besler said. "To be a part of such a great team and backline, you could make an argument for any of the back four for Sporting Kansas City. All year long our theme has been defending as a team from the forwards on back."
Sporting finished first in the Eastern Conference during the regular season, but was eliminated in the conference semifinals in the playoffs.
Besler finished ahead of San Jose Earthquakes Victor Bernardez and Kansas City teammate Aurelien Collin in the voting. Vancouver Whitecaps FC's Jay DeMerit was fourth and Philadelphia Union defender Carlos Valdes finished fifth.
"Besler is a very steady player, which you need at his position," Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. "Even though some might think he was a bit under- the-radar, he is consistent, a solid defender, very technical and possesses an excellent soccer brain. His top notch work ethic and determination has seen him get better every year."
The award is voted on by media, MLS players and MLS club management.
MLS also announced that Silviu Petrescu was voted Referee of the Year and Ian Anderson was voted the Assistant Referee of the Year.