Matt Hedges has been an ever-present figure at the back for FC Dallas since being drafted in 2012 out of the University of North Carolina and 2015 was his best season yet.
His third-straight season with at least 30 starts, Hedges anchored a back line that improved their goals against average from 1.32 in 2014 to 1.14 in 2015, allowed the third-fewest goals in franchise history with 39 and tied a franchise record with 13 shutouts this season. Today it was announced that Matt finished in third place in MLS Defender of the Year voting behind only Belgian World Cup veteran Laurent Ciman and Vancouver defender Kendall Waston.
|MLS Defender of the Year voting|
|Player (Club)||% of Club Votes||% of Media Votes||% of Player Votes||Weighted Total|
|Laurent Ciman (MTL)||34.55||25.35||21.02||80.92|
|Kendall Waston (VAN)||16.36||29.58||15.34||61.28|
|Matt Hedges (DAL)||21.82||18.3||14.77||54.89|
|Matt Miazga (NY)||7.27||11.27||3.98||22.52|
Just 25 years old, the FC Dallas Captain remains as one of the brightest young defenders in Major League Soccer and sits on the cusp of breaking into the US Men's National Team. With his start in the final game of the regular season against San Jose, Hedges now has 117 starts for FC Dallas which ranks ninth all-time in franchise history. With a full season in 2016, Hedges could move to as high as third all-time playing alongside defender Zach Loyd who took over second place on that same list in 2015.
Hedges and Loyd, both UNC graduates, have combined to play nearly 500 minutes of playoff soccer over the last two seasons with four of those games coming against the Seattle Sounders dynamic offensive duo of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins. The Dallas defense limited Martins and Dempsey to combined one goal and no assists in 390 minutes of playoff action with the only goal coming off a free kick rather than in the run of play.
Despite playing 124 games at the high-pressure position of center back, Hedges has kept a remarkably clean record with just 10 yellow cards in his career and no red cards. In fact, this season Hedges' numbers stack up extremely well against his Defender of the Year competitors.
|Games Played||Fouls Committed||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
Hedges, the only one of the top three defenders to move on to the Conference Finals, will be back in action as FCD looks to win the Western Conference beginning next Sunday, November 22nd at Providence Park against the Portland Timbers before returning home for the 2nd leg on Sunday, November 29th at Toyota Stadium.