Shouldn't you be helping cook the Thanksgiving meal instead of reading a soccer blog? Well, while the turkey is cooking, steal a second or two away from your family to vote for the Popie Award, given D.C. United's best defender of the season. In this season especially, when the defending was so very bad, picking a winner might be difficult; however, these are the awards that we give and so give them we must. Past winners of this award include Brandon McDonald, Dejan Jakovic, Julius James, and Bryan Namoff.
1. Bill Hamid: Hamid remains one of the best young goalkeepers in the league, and his calls into the national team are a remained that Juergen Klinsmann thinks so too. Always capable of making that spectacular save, but was sold out too often by the defenders in front of him this year. The fact that he didn't just curl up into the fetal position is a testament to his growing mental strength as well.
2. Chris Korb: After a strong end to 2012, Korb had a very up and down 2013 before playing somewhat better at the end of the year. I still happen to think that his better position is left back, even if he is wrong footed, and I think this play this year at least keeps him in the conversation for one of the two starting spots next year. At the very least, he's a solid backup, which is more than could be said for most of D.C. United's defenders this year.
3. Alain Rochat: For the brief time that he was here, he was a solid fullback who played better than anyone else the team tried to pair with Chris Korb. When it was clear he didn't want to be here anymore, he netted the team a cool $500,000 transfer fee for a player the team got for a second round draft pick. That combined is good enough for me for a nomination in this year of terrible defending.
4. Ethan White: When he was given his chance in the middle of the season, Ethan White almost instantly became the best center back on the team. While injuries benched him for the last few games of the season, his performance up until that point makes it a true battle to see which of him or Dejan Jakovic will be pairing with the team's new center back next year. For a player who didn't see the field at all in 2012, he has made huge strides.