Pittsburgh’s Greenspan named Championship’s Defender of the Year

  • Standout center back led Riverhounds SC to league-leading 17 shutouts, top of Eastern Conference.
Modified 21 Nov 2019, 04:29 IST

TAMPA, Fla. – Even the best defensive teams need a centerpiece that can be built around.

In 6-foot-6 center back Joe Greenspan, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC had the best in the USL Championship in 2019.

Greenspan was named the USL Championship’s 2019 Defender of the Year on Tuesday to complete a season that saw him earn a second consecutive place on the Championship’s All-League First Team and lead the Hounds to 17 shutouts, tying the league’s regular-season record set by the Rochester Rhinos in 2015, and a first-place finish in the Eastern Conference for the first time in club history.

The 27-year-old played a role in 15 of the club’s shutouts during the regular season, the most of any individual alongside teammates Kenardo Forbes and Tobi Adewole, as he led the Hounds with 159 clearances and won 69.4 percent of duels and 75 percent of aerial duels.

Greenspan also posted 49 interceptions and 193 recoveries, but it was his positioning and timing that helped set him apart this season. The former Navy standout was only dribbled past by an opponent on 12 occasions while conceding only 25 fouls, none of which led to a penalty kick. He also proved adept at the other end of the field, scoring four goals and adding two assists as one of the top set piece threats in the league.

Greenspan garnered 61 percent of the vote to earn the award, while Indy Eleven’s Neveal Hackshaw finished second on 22 percent and Louisville City FC’s Oscar Jimenez finished third on 17 percent.

The 2019 USL Championship Awards were voted on by team management and a league-wide media panel that included representation from every USL Championship market. Voting was conducted following the conclusion of the 2019 Championship regular season.

2019 USL Championship Awards

Goalkeeper of the Year: Matt Pickens, Nashville SC


Defender of the Year: Joe Greenspan, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

Coach of the Year: November 20

Young Player of the Year: November 20

Most Valuable Player: November 21

USL Championship Defender of the Year

2011: Rob Valentino, Orlando City SC

2012: Troy Roberts, Rochester Rhinos

2013: Colin Falvey, Charleston Battery

2014: Nemanja Vukovic, Sacramento Republic FC

2015: Bryan Burke, Louisville City FC

2016: Aaron Long, New York Red Bulls II

2017: Sebastien Ibeagha, San Antonio FC

2018: Forrest Lasso, FC Cincinnati

Published 21 Nov 2019, 04:29 IST
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