San Jose’s acquisition of Clarence Goodson has the fell and smell of a real game-changer. It may be a little too late for this year, especially since the transfer window rules and the upcoming Gold Cup will conspire to keep the Earthquakes’ new U.S. international out of an MLS kit until Aug. 4.
Either way, it’s a great time to debate whether the combo of sturdy Honduran international Victor Bernardez and Goodson will instantly become the league’s top central defensive pairing.
Here’s how I would rank them – obviously looking into the future a little on this one:
1. Sporting Kansas City’s Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin: Only caveat here is that Collin has to keep his head about him. He always looks to be one knee-high cleat from completing blowing his French top. Otherwise, all the elements of skill and tenacity are there.
2. San Jose Goodson and Bernardez: They lack just a little bit of speed, but otherwise there’s toughness, experience, size, quality passing … pretty much the whole package.
3. LA Galaxy’s Omar Gonzalez and A.J. DeLaGarza: Sure, there is a gap between the top guy and the second man, but it’s still a good pairing, one good enough to win an MLS Cup.
4. FC Dallas’ George John and Matt Hedges: Hedges had to play before he was ready last year, but that 2012 blooding is paying off now. John continues to be under-valued.
5. New England’s Jose Goncalves and Stephen McCarthy: A big reason for a league-low 13 goals allowed.