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2021 Player Profiles: Aaron Herrera

2021 was the year of Aaron Herrera, proving again and again that he deserves national team attention.

MLS: Playoffs- Semifinals-Real Salt Lake at Sporting KC Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of things happened in the 2021 season. RSL made the playoffs. LAFC didn’t. David Ochoa became a menace. Aaron Herrera proved time and time again that he is one of the best right backs in the league right now.

He made some mistakes. No need to pretend like the last few games of the season weren’t even close to his best performances. But Aaron Herrera is a very large part of why RSL even found themselves in the playoffs.

But before we jump right into why he’s one of the best right backs in MLS right now, let’s just talk about Herrera’s offensive efforts.

Herrera had one goal, 11 assists and 23 shots this season. As a right back. His goal was the lone in his career. His 11 assists? More than all the other seasons he’s played combined so far. He had four more shots in 2021 than in his next highest season, 2019, where he had 19 and no goal to show for it. Nearly every offensive based statistic he could have has improved since last season.

His defense, though, is just as good. Herrera was on the field for six of RSL’s shutouts this season, including the season finale 1-0 win over Sporting KC. Additionally, with Herrera on the field the team had a +3 goal differential, slightly better than the teams overall +1 goal differential. Herrera has 81.2 percent passing success, and tied for the most tackles on the team in 2021 with Pablo Ruiz who each had 37.

The stats show his strengths. He’s a good, strong defender who is not afraid to go forward or go in for that hard tackle, which you can see in his eight yellow cards. Herrera is smart with his positioning but even if he gets caught on a break his speed and athleticism helps him make up for that too.

Herrera is the strong right back presence that RSL needed. He came in and took the starting right back role and has never looked back. The only thing to look forward to now is a national team senior camp call up. Still waiting on that one.

Fortunately though, for RSL fans at least, Herrera is not going anywhere. At the end of 2019, he signed a four-year contract extension with the club that will have him here for at least two more seasons. And given the performance we are currently seeing, if that doesn’t slow down in the next two seasons he could very well earn yet another renewal.

Aaron Herrera is very good at soccer. It’s really as simple as that.