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Award 8: The Popie

By definition, the Popie Award goes to the DC United defender of the year. I think this category is pretty self explanatory. The award's namesake Eddie Pope was the MLS Defender of the Year in 1997, and anchored our team in central defense from 1996 to 2002. Pope remains a member of the MLS All-Time Best XI. It's a bit hard to make an argument that any of United's defenders this year reach Pope's stature.

1. Ironman Bryan Namoff has been our most consistent defender, if nothing else. Earlier in the year I would have argued that he was having his best season as a pro, but I'm not sure that's still the case. Namoff should be considered one of the best right backs in the league, and even played well in central defense this year when he had to.

2. Maybe not the biggest, but certainly the tallest signing this offseason was Gonzalo Peralta. He had some great games this year in shutting down some good offensive players, but also made a few too many individual mistakes that led to goals. Hard to say whether or not the voting for this award would be any different had Peralta been healthy the entire year.

3. The most versatile player on our roster has got to be Devon McTavish. This year, he has played center back, right back, right midfield, and center holding midfield. The problem is that no one seems to know which position he's best at. McTavish began the year as our fifth option at the back, but has since won his starting job back from Martinez. Although not the most physically talented player on the team, Devon has mostly held his own in defense.

4. Sure, he's not exactly a defender, but Louis Crayton also deserves your consideration. Since joining the team, Crayton may not have a winning record (the team is 3-5-3), but he has already helped the team earn more clean sheets than Zach Wells.

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(the 2008 Benny Awards)