FC Cincinnati center back Matt Miazga won the 2023 MLS Defender of the Year Award following his first full season with the club. Here’s what you need to know:
- Miazga has one assist and 16 shots in 27 regular-season games with the club this year. He has also appeared in two playoff games.
- FC Cincinnati acquired Miazga, 28, from Chelsea FC in August 2022 and signed him to a three-year deal using targeted allocation money.
- Miazga won Defender of the Year after The Athletic recently reported that he entered the officials’ locker room following Cincinnati’s win over the New York Red Bulls and wanted to speak with referee Victor Rivas about the yellow cards he received at the end of the game.
An anchor in the back for the Supporters’ Shield winners. ⚓️
Your 2023 MLS Defender of the Year: Matt Miazga. pic.twitter.com/UMUzgaRLI7
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) November 13, 2023
Why Miazga won
After bouncing around Europe from loan to loan with eight different clubs in six countries, Miazga finally found a home in Cincinnati. He has been the linchpin in the Cincinnati back line and a proxy on the field for Coach of the Year candidate Pat Noonan.
The temperamental defender has often let his emotions cloud his decisions on the pitch, evidenced by his recent yellow card during Cincy’s penalty shootout win over the Red Bulls. Miazga will miss Cincinnati’s Eastern Conference semifinal through suspension and is under investigation for entering the referee’s room after the victory over New York. That said, Miazga has earned this distinction for his play on the field. — Felipe Cardenas, soccer staff writer
(Photo: Katie Stratman / USA Today)