Ten Best: Outside backs
Lawrence and Murillo
September 6, 2018
Is Kemar Lawrence the best left back in Metro history? Spoiler alert: yes, and it's not even close. Is Michael Murillo the best right back? A little more competition here, but... read below. Please note: we're only counting players whose primary position with Metro was outside back. For example, Dave van den Bergh, who played some left back but spent the bulk of his time in the midfield, is not considered.
10) Chris Leitch (right and left)
The much-maligned Leitch was somehow named 2005's Defender of the Year... and then was benched for the playoffs. He was pretty solid defensively, as long is you didn't ask him to attack. That being said, he started at right back in the 2008 MLS Cup. (The starter on the left? Kevin Goldthwaite. Let's just move on.)
9) Roy Miller (left)
Oh Roy Miller, Roy Miller, Roy Miller. Some rate him higher than we do, but is it a coincidence that Metro won the 2013 and 2015 Shields with Miller sidelined? An amazing zero goals in 140 appearances over six years.
8) Connor Lade (left and right)
What Lade lacks in height, he makes up in tenacity. Ready to fill wherever needed (even in central defense!). Heck, Titi Henry was a fan.
7) Marvell Wynne (right)
We really thought that Metro had their right back for the next decade when they drafted the blazing fast Wynne first overall in 2006. He showed flashes in his rookie season, and then, inexplicably, Bruce Arena gave him away to Toronto. Wynne did go on to play a decade in MLS... as a central defender. Arena traded him to give room to:
6) Hunter Freeman (right)
Freeman was very solid as Wynne's replacement after being acquired for a pu pu platter of supplemental draft picks. Did you know that Metro traded him twice, first to Toronto, but they kept his MLS rights after he left for Europe, and then dumped him to Houston. Oh, MLS shenanigans!
5) Todd Dunivant (left)
Speaking of inexplicable Arena trades: Dunivant arrived midway through 2006 and immediately impressed, even scoring goals in back-to-back games. Somehow, Arena called him "one of the twelve best left backs in MLS" (there were only twelve teams at the time), gave him away to Toronto for Goldthwaite... and then promptly re-acquired him with the Galaxy. There, the pair won three MLS Cups together. Damn.
4) Diego Sonora (right)
Finally, one of the early years. If Metro's biggest mistake prior to the 1999 season as trading Giovanni Savarese to the Revs, letting Sonora go to DC was up there. The Argentine spent just one season with Metro, but he was terrific in 1998, even contributing three goals and seven assists.
3) Michael Murillo (right)
So that's where we're putting Murillo, who has proved excellent going forward, and not too shabby while defending. A continuation of his solid play will surely put him over the top for right backs, which for now belongs to:
2) Jan Gunnar Solli (right)
Maybe he was a really midfielder, but he did spend most of his Metro time at right back and was named the team's Defender of the Year in 2011. (Amazingly, he and Leitch are the only outside backs to get that honor.) Three goals, 13 assists in his Metro career, including the unforgettable three-assist game in a 4:0 win at DC. (Retroactively changed to two assists, but who is counting?)
1) Kemar Lawrence (left)
There is no contest here. Week in and week out, now four years into his Metro career, Lawrence, possibly the fastest man in MLS, is the best outside back in Metro history. Don't leave for Europe's riches, Kemar!