"Played every minute for me this year," Jim Curtin says, "Played it at a very high level against the top attackers in our league."
By now, every Union fan knows he's speaking about Auston Trusty, who came into 2018 with zero MLS minutes and finished with, well, every single minute a player could have. And Trusty didn't do it by being the only option; he was the best option every single match. As the season wore on, Trusty grew into the rock at the heart of a defense that shut out Seattle on the road and Sporting Kansas City at home. He was not granted the security of a veteran center back partner or a destroyer at the No. 6 position, so he had to be a leader from the start and willing to sprint out of position into midfielder at a moment's notice. He wasn't perfect -- and there were high profile errors -- but he did something that has little precedent in Major League Soccer. Trusty, playing a high line and leaving acres of space behind, turned in a season that will be a touchpoint for every future young center back in the league. When another teenager is thrown into the fray, their performances will be judged against Trusty's.
How he began -- that epic recovery against Juan Agudelo -- to how he developed, to how he coped with challenges and grew into a leader.
This will be Auston Trusty's legacy, Philadelphia Union's 2018 Defensive Player of the Year.
Or, perhaps, this will just be the start of it.