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2014 RSL Soapbox Awards: Defender of the Year

Every year, RSL Soapbox hands out seven prestigious awards known as the "RSL Soapbox Awards." Today we take a look at defender of the year.

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Kreg Asay: A tough choice between the Beard or the Mask, but Schuler wins out by virtue of seeing how much better the team played when he was on the field. He also notched 3 goals and 1 assist which was better than any other defender.

Weston Jenson: Quality fullbacks are simply hard to come by and when you have one it counts. Not to mention that Tony Beltran is an integral part of the Claret-and-Cobalt. Tony not only is a beast in defense - even with a few slip ups now and again - but overlapping runs to expose the other team's defense is something Tony can do. Tony is also a rock in defense playing nearly every minute of every match for the Claret-and-Cobalt. Just like Kyle Beckerman can create cutting runs through the opponent's half, so too can Tony Beltran.

Matt Montgomery: It's got to be Chris Schuler. Through a confluence of injuries, he missed lots of minutes through his career (except, somewhat puzzlingly, in 2011) — and 2014 was the first year we saw him play as regularly as we'd hoped he would be able to. It's funny. 2013 started a bit poorly for Schuler, but the end of the year saw him on a meteoric rise. That rise continued, and it didn't show any signs of slowing the pace in 2014. USMNT and 2015 beckon.

Randal Serr: There are so many choose from, but for me the clear defender of the year for RSL is Chris Schuler. It's simple really. When he was on the field, the opposing team scored at a much lower rate. When he was off the field, the opposing team scored at a much higher rate. He proved that he can stay healthy and be dominant when on the field. I would be shocked if he is not called up to the U.S. Men's National Team very soon.