Rave Report: Gonzalez is Sounders FC's top defender

Gonzalez was voted Defender of the Year by his teammates, Yedlin is up for another award and UW is one win away from the College Cup.

Sounders FC named the last of its player awards on Friday, announcing that Leo Gonzalez was the team’s Defender of the Year after a career year in 2013.

In his fifth season in Seattle after playing his whole career in his native Costa Rica, Gonzalez started a career high 27 games and Sounders FC was 14-9-4 while allowing one goal per game in his starts. In the seven matches he didn’t start, Seattle was just 1-3-3, allowing 2.13 goals per game.

He joins MVP Osvaldo Alonso, Golden Boot winner Eddie Johnson and Humanitarian of the Year Lamar Neagle as the 2013 Sounders FC award recipients. Previous Defender of the Year honorees have included Tyrone Marshall in 2009, James Riley in 2010 and Jeff Parke in 2011 and 2012.

Gonzalez, 33, is fifth on Seattle’s all-time appearances list with 98 career MLS regular season matches. He has also appeared in 20 of 26 of Sounders FC Champions League matches, sharing the team lead with Alonso, and is fifth on the all-time, all competitions appearance list with 136 matches, trailing only Alonso (184), Fredy Montero (160), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (143) and Brad Evans (138).

YEDLIN UP FOR SEATTLE SPORTS STAR

Sounders FC rookie sensation DeAndre Yedlin’s windfall of praise continued this week when he was named a finalist for the Seattle Sports Commission’s Sports Star of the Year award.

Already an All-Star and finalist for MLS Rookie of the Year in his first season as a professional, Yedlin joins a list of Sounders FC nominees that includes Kasey Keller, Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson, with Keller winning the honor in 2011.

Yedlin is nominated with University of Washington running back Bishop Sankey, Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, Boston Red Sox pitcher and Puyallup native Jon Lester, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and the University of Washington men’s soccer team.

The Sounders FC organization has been recognized at the annual event in each of the club’s first four years, with Paul Allen winning Sports Citizen of the Year (now renamed the Paul Allen Award) in 2010 and the Sports Executive of the Year going to former CEO Tod Leiweke in 2009, Senior Vice President of Business Operations Gary Wright in 2011 and Owner/General Manager Adrian Hanauer in 2012.

To vote for Yedlin and learn more about the event visit http://www.seattlesports.org/site446.php.

UW MEETS NEW MEXICO IN ELITE 8

The Huskies will play their final home match of 2013 on Saturday night at 5 pm at Husky Soccer Field when they meet the University of New Mexico in the Elite 8 of the NCAA tournament.

With seven players with experience in the Sounders FC Academy, there are direct ties to the Sounders FC organization and those players have been instrumental in helping UW reach the furthest stage of the tournament in the 50 years of the program.

Washington topped Seattle University, 4-2, and Stanford University, 1-0, in the first two matches of the tournament. The Elite 8 matchup will be televised on Pac-12 Networks. The winner will advance to the College Cup next week in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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