Sporting captain Matt Besler has played 12 seasons at his hometown club. He has earned MLS Best XI (2012, 2013), MLS All-Star (2011, 2013-16), MLS Defender of the Year (2012) and MLS Breakout Player of the Year (2012) honors and was named the 2014 KC Sportsman of the Year by the Kansas City Sports Commission.
Besler's 348 appearances, 337 starts and 30,397 minutes played for Sporting in all competitions are the most in club history. A regular staple of the team’s backline, he has started 302 of 311 MLS appearances (including playoffs) and has landed Sporting KC Defender of the Year honors four times (2011-13, 2015). The Kansas City native is also Sporting's all-time leader in regular season appearances, starts and minutes played.
Besler has earned 47 caps for the United States Men’s National Team since debuting in January 2013, recording one goal and one assist. He was on the U.S. roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil alongside teammate Graham Zusi, becoming the first Kansan to play in the World Cup. He started all four matches in the tournament as the U.S. finished Group G runners-up behind eventual champion Germany and advanced to the Round of 16. He helped lead the U.S. to the 2013 and 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup titles, playing 90 minutes in the finals of both tournaments. He scored his first international goal in a World Cup qualifying win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines in September 2016.
Besler was named to the U.S. Men's National Team for the 2016 Copa America Centenario, a prestigious tournament headlined by the U.S., Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. He made his debut in the competition in the quarterfinals on June 16, helping the U.S. to a 2-1 win over Ecuador, and started and played 90 minutes in a 1-0 defeat to Colombia in the tournament's third place match.
2020: MLS regular season: Started nine of 10 appearances and contributed to two clean sheets (810 minutes played). MLS is Back Tournament: Started two matches (180 minutes played). MLS Cup Playoffs: Did not feature.
2019: MLS regular season: Started 25 of 27 appearances and contributed to six shutouts (2,115 minutes played). Concacaf Champions League: Started six matches and contributed to three shutouts (540 minutes played). Played the entirety of both shutout wins over Deportivo Toluca FC in the Round of 16 and both matches of a 4-2 aggregate win over Independiente in the Quarterfinals. Open Cup: Did not feature.
2018: MLS regular season: Started 31 matches, recorded three assists contributed to 13 shutouts (2,745 minutes played). Assisted Johnny Russell's hat-trick-sealing goal in a historic 6-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on April 20, the same match he became Kansas City's all-time regular season leader in starts and minutes played. Started in a 0-0 draw at the Portland Timbers on June 9 to become Sporting KC's all-time leader with 241 regular season appearances. Assisted Diego Rubio's opener in a 3-0 win over Portland on Aug. 18, the same game he tied assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin for most competitive appearances in club history at 291. Assisted Yohan Croizet's excellent equalizer in a 4-1 victory at Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Oct. 17. Became the first player in Sporting KC history to reach 300 competitive appearances and 250 regular season starts in a 3-0 win at FC Dallas on Oct. 21. Open Cup: Started and played 90 minutes in a 2-0 fourth-round win over Real Salt Lake on June 6. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started four matches and contributed to one shutout (360 minutes played). Started and played 90 minutes in a 1-1 conference semifinal first leg draw at Real Salt Lake on Nov. 4. Started and played 90 minutes in a 4-2 conference semifinal second-leg win over Real Salt Lake on Nov. 11. Started and played 90 minutes in a 0-0 conference championship first-leg draw at Portland on Nov. 25. Started and played 90 minutes in a 3-2 conference championship second-leg loss to Portland on Nov. 29.
2017: MLS regular season: Made 26 starts, contributed to 11 shutouts and recorded a career-high four assists (2339 minutes played). Assisted Latif Blessing's opening goal in a 2-2 draw at Orlando City SC on May 13. Assisted Ike Opara's game-winning goal in a 3-0 victory over Minnesota United FC on June 3. Assisted Ike Opara's bicycle goal in a 2-1 victory against LA Galaxy on June 24. Assisted Cristian Lobato's go-ahead goal in a 1-1 draw at Columbus Crew SC on Sept. 10. Open Cup: Started and played 90 minutes in a 4-0 fourth-round win over Minnesota United FC on June 14. Started and played 120 minutes in a 5-4 penalty shootout victory over the San Jose Earthquakes following a 1-1 draw through regulation and extra time on Aug. 9, converting his penalty in the shootout. Started and played 90 minutes in a 2-1 Open Cup Final victory over the New York Red Bulls on Sept. 20. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started and played 120 minutes in a 1-0 extra-time loss at the Houston Dynamo in the Western Conference Knockout Round on Oct. 26.
2016: Was named an MLS All-Star for the fifth time in his career. Started 19 of 20 appearances in all competitions, recording one goal and one assist (1726 minutes played). MLS regular season: Started 17 of 18 appearances, recording one goal and one assist, and contributed to five shutouts (1546 minutes played). Made his 200th career MLS appearance (including playoffs) in a 1-1 draw at Vancouver on April 27. Assisted Brad Davis' goal in a 1-1 draw against LA Galaxy on May 1. Scored the game-winner in the 91st minute of a 3-2 victory over Columbus Crew SC on July 3, his third career goal for Sporting KC and his first since 2011. Open Cup: Started one match (90 minutes played). Started and played 90 minutes in a 3-1 fifth round loss to the Houston Dynamo on June 29. CONCACAF Champions League: Did not feature. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started and played 90 minutes in a 1-0 knockout round loss at Seattle Sounders FC on Oct. 27.
2015: Led the team with 38 appearances (and starts) across all competitions, recording four assists. He featured in the 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star Game on July 29, marking the fourth All-Star Game appearance of his career (2011, 2013-2015). MLS regular season: Made 32 starts, contributed to 11 clean sheets and recorded three assists (2830 minutes played). Assisted Ike Opara's game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory at New York City FC on March 28. Assisted Krisztian Nemeth's 94th-minute game-winning goal in a 3-2 win over Philadelphia on April 5. Assisted Graham Zusi's goal in a 3-2 loss at Columbus Crew SC on Aug. 22. Earned MLS Team of the Week honors in Week 31 after leading Sporting KC to the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title on Sept. 30 and anchoring a 1-0 win over the Portland Timbers on Oct. 3. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started and played 120 minutes in Sporting KC's 7-6 penalty kick shootout loss at Portland after a 2-2 draw through regulation. Open Cup: Earned five starts, tallied one assist and played the entirety of every match. Started and played 90 minutes in a 1-0 fourth round win over Saint Louis FC on June 16. Started and played 90 minutes in a 6-2 fifth round win over FC Dallas on July 1. Started and played 90 minutes in a 3-1 quarterfinal win over the Houston Dynamo on July 21, assisting Benny Feilhaber's equalizer in the second half. Started and played 90 minutes in a 3-1 semifinal win over Real Salt Lake on Aug. 12. Started and played 120 minutes in a championship win over the Philadelphia Union on Sept. 30 as Sporting KC prevailed 7-6 in penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw in regulation. He converted his penalty kick in the shootout. MLS All-Star Game: Started and played 45 minutes in the All-Stars' 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur on July 29.
2014: MLS regular season: Appeared in 24 matches, all starts, and contributed to seven shutouts. Was named to MLS Team of the Week (Week 9) after a 2-0 win over Columbus on May 4. Earned MLS Team of the Week honors (Week 18) after assisting Dom Dwyer's goal in a 2-1 win over Montreal on July 12, his first match for the club since returning from the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Was voted to the MLS Fan XI on July 16, earning MLS All-Star honors for the third time in his career. Received the first red card of his 148-game MLS career on July 26 in a 2-1 win at Toronto. Started and played 45 minutes in the MLS All-Star Game on Aug. 6 as the MLS All-Stars defeated Bayern Munich 2-1 in Portland. Earned MLS Team of the Week honors (Week 30) after a 0-0 draw at D.C. United on Oct. 3 in which he had eight interceptions and nine clearances. MLS Playoffs: Played 90 minutes in a 2-1 loss at New York in the Eastern Conference Knockout Round (Oct. 30). CCL: Played 90 minutes in both 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal legs vs. Cruz Azul, contributing to a shutout in the first leg on March 12. Started three matches (270 minutes) in the 2014-15 group stage, contributing to one shutout. Open Cup: Did not feature. Friendly: Played 45 minutes in a 4-1 Champions Shield defeat to Manchester City on July 23 at Sporting Park.
2013: Click here to view Besler's 2013 MLS Regular Season Highlights. Voted Sporting KC's Defensive Player of the Year and named MLS Best XI. MLS: Besler has appeared in 23 regular season matches for Sporting KC. Besler anchored a defense that earned 13 shutouts in 2013. Besler earned his first assist of the season against the Portland Timbers on April 27 and his second against the Philadelphia Union on October 26. PLAYOFFS: Started and played full time in all five playoff matches including the MLS Cup Final. CCL: Besler started two of the team's four CONCACAF Champions League group stage matches: 1-1 draw vs. Real Esteli on September 17 and a 0-0 draw vs. CD Olimpia on October 23.