(Jesse Louie/Just Women's Sports)

Gotham FC’s Caprice Dydasco has been named the 2021 NWSL Defender of the Year.

Dydasco anchored Gotham’s defense this year, starting all 24 games during the regular season, recording a career-best five assists and scoring the first goal of her NWSL career. She was a big reason Gotham conceded just 21 goals this season, four behind the league-leading Portland Thorns, and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NWSL playoffs, where they lost to Chicago 1-0.

The 28-year-old registered 49 clearances and 49 interceptions during the season, leading all defenders in both categories. Dydasco also won more than 60 percent of her tackles and completed nearly 80 percent of her passes. Her efforts landed her on the NWSL Team of the Month five times, more than any other player in the league this season.

Dydasco also was lethal on the attack, connecting on 56 passes across 25 games and finishing second among defenders in assists. Her first-career goal came on June 20 in Gotham’s game against the Orlando Pride.

Dydasco becomes just the fifth player to be named Defender of the Year, following the Portland Thorns’ Becky Sauerbrunn in 2019.

Chicago Red Stars defender Sarah Gorden placed second in voting, while Portland’s Emily Menges was third, North Carolina’s Carson Pickett fourth and OL Reign’s Alana Cook fifth.