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New York Red Bulls’ Aaron Long named MLS Defender of the Year

Jul 21, 2018; Harrison, NJ, USA; New York Red Bulls defender Aaron Long (33) in action against the New England Revolution at Red Bull Arena. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Aaron Long received another plaudit in what has been a breakout season, with the New York Red Bulls central defender being named the 2018 MLS Defender of the Year, the league announced on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old helped anchor the stingiest defense in the league, with the Red Bulls conceding the fewest goals (33) in the regular season en route to winning a third Supporters’ Shield title in the last six years and setting a record for points accrued (71) in a season.

Long earned career highs in games started (31), minutes (2,806), while also scoring three goals and setting up two others. He was named to the MLS All-Star Game for the first time this year and earned his first U.S. national team call-up, making his international debut in a 1-1 draw against Peru last month.

This is the second time in his professional career Long has been named Defender of the Year, winning the USL award in 2016 when he made 22 appearances for Red Bulls II.

Long, who is in his second year as a regular starter for the Red Bulls, earned 26.52 percent of the overall vote, edging Chad Marshall of the Seattle Sounders, who garnered 20.93 percent. Atlanta United’s Michael Parkhurst was a distant third with 7.10 percent, followed by teammate Leandro Gonzalez Pirez (5.78 percent) and Red Bulls fullback Kemar Lawrence (5.60 percent).

Long is the first Red Bulls player to win MLS Defender of the Year, which combined votes made by players, clubs and the media.

Defender of the Year Player
Vote
Club
Vote
Media
Vote
Avg
Aaron Long (RBNY) 20.76% 25.47% 33.33% 26.52%
Chad Marshall (SEA) 11.70% 27.36% 23.72% 20.93%
Michael Parkhurst (ATL) 11.70% 6.60% 3.00% 7.10%
Leandro Gonzalez Pirez (ATL) 5.85% 8.49% 3.00% 5.78%
Kemar Lawrence (RBNY) 5.85% 2.83% 8.11% 5.60%

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