Valdes earning reputation as one of league's elite defenders
When Major League Soccer clubs prepare for the Philadelphia Union, one of the first players mentioned in the scouting report is Carlos Valdes.
The Union’s central defender and captain earned his first career MLS All-Star berth but his reputation had already spread throughout the league.
“In my opinion, Carlos is one of the best defenders in the league,” said LA Galaxy standout forward Landon Donovan. “He’s so strong and smart and he makes it very, very difficult to score. I’m not surprised at all that Carlos is an All-Star because when you prepare for Philadelphia, you have to be concerned with where Carlos is at all times on the field.”
San Jose Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski, the league’s leading goal scorer, said he’s hardly surprised by Valdes’ ascent to the All-Star Game.
“You could see last season how talented he was and how much he was improving,” Wondolowski said. “When you try and score, you have to go through tough defenders. I think that Carlos is one of the toughest defenders around. He’s big and physical and he’s so strong on the ball. I think the sky’s the limit in terms of potential for him.”
Need more proof of Valdes’ stock throughout the league?
“He’s a stud,” said D.C. United and MLS All-Stars coach Ben Olsen. “He’s so talented and he anchors their backline. Tough, tough player.”
“Carlos has really become a terrific defender,” said Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen. “He’s solid all around. He is what a goalkeeper loves to see – a defender in front who will control the backline and help out. I think his skill-set is really remarkable.”
“He’s such a steady presence on the field,” added Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman. “He’s a player you study when you’re preparing to face them. I think he’s done a great job for them.”
The players believe this is just a start for Valdes.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see Carlos in many All-Star Games,” Donovan said. “He’s a great, great player and will work to improve, I’m sure. If he stays in MLS for a while, he’ll have more opportunities to play in this game with the talent level he possesses.”
“You can see even in practice what kind of intensity Carlos has,” Beckerman said. “He brings it and you can see right away. When you combine talent and work ethic, you get the full package.”