Nashville's Zimmerman earns Defender of the Year honors

CORRECTS TO NASHVILLE SC'S WALKER ZIMMERMAN NOT RANDALL LEAL - Nashville SC's Walker Zimmerman, right, heads the ball over Sporting Kansas City forward Gianluca Busio, left, during the first half of an MLS soccer match in Kansas City, Kan., Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
CORRECTS TO NASHVILLE SC'S WALKER ZIMMERMAN NOT RANDALL LEAL - Nashville SC's Walker Zimmerman, right, heads the ball over Sporting Kansas City forward Gianluca Busio, left, during the first half of an MLS soccer match in Kansas City, Kan., Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

NEW YORK (AP) — Nashville SC center back Walker Zimmerman was honored Wednesday as Major League Soccer's Defender of the Year.

Nashville allowed an average of 0.96 goals a game, lowest of an expansion team in league history. The team had nine clean sheets and allowed just 22 total goals, third-fewest in the league.

Zimmerman had three goals and an assists in 22 starts. He scored Nashville's first goal in the club's debut.

Zimmerman, 27, came to Nashville for its inaugural season after two years at LAFC. He started his MLS career in 2013 as the No. 7 overall pick in the SuperDraft by FC Dallas.

Zimmerman has also played in 12 matches for the U.S. national team with two goals.

The MLS awards are determined by vote of the league's technical staffs and players, and the media. Zimmerman got 28.37% of the vote, while Philadelphia's Mark McKenzie was second with 23.04%.

Nashville earned a spot in the play-in round for the postseason and will host fellow expansion club Inter Miami on Friday night.

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