The Miami FC Defenders: Strong and Steady

Nov 30, 2017

The Miami FC owned the league's top defense in 2017, allowing just 28 goals, the best mark in the NASL by seven goals.

Paired with the league's No. 1 offense, Miami's back line was a crucial unit in Miami breaking so many records this season.

Let's take a look at the statistics for all of Miami's defenders in 2017.

Mason Trafford

Trafford was a rock in defense for the Orange and Blue, but it was his passing that really stood out, as he led the NASL in passing accuracy.

Trafford's stellar play earned him a spot on the 2017 NASL Best XI.

Assists: 1
Passing Accuracy: 92.5%
Clearances: 99
Interceptions: 26
Duels Won: 56
Standout Performance: 4 duels won, 7 clearances, 1 interception, 111/114 passes completed in The Championship Semifinal vs. New York Cosmos

Rhett Bernstein

Bernstein followed up his great first season in Miami with an even better one in 2017, becoming a more impressive overall center back than the brilliant one he already was.

The 30-year-old improved on his clearances by 31, his passes completed by 236 and his passing accuracy by 4.2 percentage points.

Assists: 1
Passing Accuracy: 91.2%
Clearances: 143
Interceptions: 48
Duels Won: 97
Standout Performance: 1 shot, 1 chance created, 10 clearances, 3 duels won, 2 interceptions in 1-0 win vs. North Carolina FC

Blake Smith

Smith replaced Robert Baggio Kcira in the starting lineup when the latter went down with a season-ending injury, and Smith filled in admirably despite playing in a more defensive role than usual for the rest of the season.

He was able to use his offensive prowess whenever he went forward from his left back position and was key in the Miami back four being so stout in defense.

Goals: 1
Assists: 5
Passing Accuracy: 89.3%
Clearances: 55
Interceptions: 28
Duels Won: 84
Standout Performance: 1 assist, 2 chances created, 1 clearance, 9 duels won, 5 tackles won, 67/68 passes completed in 7-0 win vs. San Francisco Deltas

Hunter Freeman

Along with midfielder Michael Lahoud, Freeman was Miami's iron man throughout the season. Freeman accumulated the second-most playing time of all Miami outfield players.

Freeman spent time at right back and center back, and was constantly solid in defense and dangerous on offense with his poinpoint crosses.

Assists: 3
Passing Accuracy: 85.7%
Clearances: 72
Interceptions: 34
Duels Won: 79
Standout Performance: 1 assist, 1 shot, 4 chances created, 2 clearances, 3 duels won, 2 tackles won, 1 interception in 3-2 win vs. Indy Eleven

Jonathan Borrajo

After starting 28 matches last season, Borrajo was used as more of a spot starter and substitute this season, but his role was as important as ever.

His veteran presence was calming in defense for many of the new pieces along the back line.

Passing Accuracy: 85.0%
Clearances: 16
Interceptions: 11
Duels Won: 28
Standout Performance: 1 chance created, 2 clearances, 7 duels won, 3 tackles won, 1 interception in 1-0 win vs. Jacksonville Armada FC

Robert Baggio Kcira

Before going down with a knee injury midway through the season, Kcira was on pace for a truly remarkable season from a left back.

It's not common for a midfielder to make the switch to a defending position and be able to contribute as well defensively as offensively, but Kcira did just that in the 11 matches he appeared in.

Goals: 2
Assists: 1
Passing Accuracy: 88.8%
Clearances: 12
Interceptions: 14
Duels Won: 57
Standout Performance: 1 goal, 3 shots, 2 chances created, 2 clearances, 4 duels won, 1 tackle won, 1 interception in 3-2 win vs. Indy Eleven

Lovel Palmer

A big midseason acquisition by the team midway through the season, the multifaceted Palmer spent time at center back, right back and midfield throughout his 11 appearances with miami.

Goals: 1
Passing Accuracy: 80.5%
Clearances: 87
Interceptions: 30
Duels Won: 71
Standout Performance: 11 clearances, 6 duels won, 1 interception in 2-2 draw vs. San Francisco Deltas

Tyler Ruthven

Ruthven made a few spot starts while the Orange and Blue dealt with injuries during the season and performed very well when his number was called upon.

Passing Accuracy: 91.5%
Clearances: 29
Interceptions: 5
Duels Won: 14
Standout Performance: 11 clearances, 4 interceptions, 2 duels won in 3-0 win vs. Indy Eleven

Gabriel Farfán

Farfán's versatility in being able to play as a right back or midfielder made him a dynamic chess piece as a substitue. 

Passing Accuracy: 84.9%
Clearances: 2
Interceptions: 2
Duels Won: 19
Standout Performance: 9 duels won, 2 tackles won, 1 clearance in 3-0 win vs. Jacksonville Armada FC

Alessandro Lambrughi

The other of Miami's midseason acquisitions, Lambrughi provided depth at left back and allowed Blake Smith to play more offensive whenever they shared the field together.

Passing Accuracy: 90.5%
Clearances: 3
Interceptions: 1
Duels Won: 13
Standout Performance: 6 duels won, 1 clearance, 2 chances created in 1-0 win vs. Jacksonville Armada FC