Sporting Kansas City's two longest tenured players showed no signs of slowing down in 2018.
Defenders Matt Besler and Graham Zusi are into their early 30s, but their consistent performances over the course of the season served as a prompt reminder that they remain among the best in the business at their respective positions.
Need statistical proof? Look no further than Opta, the official statistics provider of MLS. Opta named its 2018 MLS Best XI today, giving Besler and Zusi two of the four spots in defense.
As Opta notes, Besler led MLS defenders in passes and was the league's third most prolific passer overall. Zusi, meanwhile, was a two-way buzzsaw. He contributed to 13 clean sheets while amassing nine combined goals (two) and assists (seven), more than any other MLS defender.
660 - Matt Besler completed 1,852 passes this season - the third most in #MLS and the most of any defender. 660 of those passes were forward passes, the second most of any player. Distributor. #OptaXI pic.twitter.com/4hsMnhnxoR— OptaJack⚽️ (@OptaJack) December 4, 2018
Besler and Zusi rank first and second, respectively, on Sporting KC's all-time appearances list. They signed new, multi-year contracts with the club in September and have spent their entire professional careers in Kansas City, having joined the side in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft.