When it comes to positional turnover, nothing came close to center back for Adrian Heath and the Orlando City Lions. With six players making significant appearances in two (sometimes three) spots on the lineup sheet, this is one of the more complicated positions to break down.
To come up with a singular set of data to compare across MLS, we'll be taking all appearances of over 46 minutes (to account for Conor Donovan's season ending injury and Tommy Redding's collision with Rafael Ramos) to find one set of averages. Along with Donovan and Redding, appearances by Aurelien Collin, Seb Hines, David Mateos, and Sean St. Ledger were used in defining these numbers. (Note: All statistics gathered via squawka.com and whoscored.com)
90 minutes of center back play cost City an average of $300,097.21 per game. Did ownership find good values through the adversity of injuries, acquisitions and departures?
At $683,250, the MLS and USMNT veteran cost Sporting Kansas City a little over twice as much as our composite Lion center back per appearance. As one of the Fan's XI for the 2015 MLS All Star game, Besler is known as a strong veteran presence and his high positional IQ shows through the numbers.
It's clear the man knows how to defend the position -- his experience at the highest level of world soccer surely shows his class -- although at twice the price, the cost is steep.
Montreal's defensive stalwart is a more favorable cost comparison, tabbing out at $401,667.67. A nuisance for even the most potent attacks, Ciman's class was recognized in the form of the 2015 MLS Defender of the Year award. His numbers, however, don't jump off the page as maybe you'd expect.
His 4.3 interceptions per game are assuredly impressive, but coming up short on blocks, clearances, and passing percentage--at roughly 133 percent of the cost of the position for Orlando--Ciman is another example that reinforces the value found at the position for Heath.
Anchoring the Vancouver Whitecaps back line out of Costa Rica, Waston's reputation has been growing across the league since joining the Canadian club in the middle of the 2014 season. Strong and energetic, Waston has been imposing his will on opposing strikers at just $226,225.
An impressive threat defensively, Waston's passing percentage sticks out like a sore thumb -- it's definitively the worst we've discussed. He does to a fantastic job of keeping the ball in disadvantageous positions for the opposition, and at roughly 70% the cost of City's backs.
Despite a rotating door of center backs, I think it's safe to say that Heath and the front office got good value for the price. What do you think? Let us know in the poll below!