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Sporting KC 2020 Year in Review: Matt Besler

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The fan favorite and USMNT veteran gets his year reviewed (I used this title yesterday for Zusi too, such a cheat).

MLS: Philadelphia Union at Sporting Kansas City
 Sporting Kansas City defenseman Matt Besler (5) celebrates after defeating the Philadelphia Union at Children’s Mercy Park.
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 MLS season has come to an end and much like we did in 2019 for Sporting Kansas City, it’s time to look back at how each player performed. Keep in mind the stats look diminished for many players, but just 21 regular season games were played in this COVID shortened season (instead of the typical 34). For the full list of players reviewed, head to our dedicated Year in Review page.

Week One

Week Two


The Blue Testament continues our look back at 2020 with a future Sporting Legend who just finished his final year at Sporting Kansas City — Matt Besler.

2020 Stats

Games Played (Started): 10 (9)*

Minutes Played: 810*

*Career lows in all categories.

Goals: 0

Assists: 0

xG (expected goals): 0.02

Positions Played: Left Center Back

2019 Salary: $674,997.64

2020 Salary: Unknown - But likely at or slightly above 2019.

Contract Through (Option Years): Out of Contract

Best Moment of 2020

N/A - It’s hard to pick a best moment for a defender in a bad year which ends with a future Sporting Legend not on the team anymore. I could pick the 4-0 shutout over the Houston Dynamo in the home opener or the 1-0 shutout against Minnesota United on September 13th (Besler’s last ever win as an SKC starter) but both of those feel hollow and insufficient for such a great career.

Worst Moment of 2020

It would be easy to pick a poor performance in a year littered with them by a struggling KC defense. Instead, the announcement that Besler was out of contract, and the team was choosing not to re-sign him, has to be Besler’s low point. During preseason Besler talked about going into a contract year and the possibility that he could play for another team. That possibility is now all but certain to be a reality. He has yet to sign with another team but someone will want a veteran leader at center back. A team like Austin FC is as good of a bet as any. At least it’s a cool city if you can’t be in KC.

Interesting Stat

4-5-0. That was Sporting KC’s record when Matt Besler started in 2020. Considering Sporting only had six losses all year (in the regular season) that number is a bit stunning. That means SKC were 8-1-3 in regular season games not started by Besler. Obviously it’s not all on him as losing is most definitely a team effort, but it’s still pretty stunning to see.

Fan Vote Results

Re-Sign: 24.4%

Let Him Walk: 75.6%

For the record, this vote happened before the announcement came on Sporting KC letting Besler walk. It was stunning for the casual fan, but those in the know could see this coming (that’s you dear TBT readers). It’s definitely a passing of the guard and it will be weird to see Besler in another jersey in 2021. At least he’ll leave as the all-time leader of basically every longevity number a guy could earn. It’s definitely the end of an era.