Defend and attack: Major League Soccer's top 5 fullbacks

The position has evolved, and these five exemplify its importance. 

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The fullback position has evolved into one of Major League Soccer's deepest.

That’s thanks to a new emphasis on the position within the league, which follows a global trend. So, who are the five best outside backs in MLS?

5) DAMARCUS BEASLEY, Houston Dynamo

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The only man to play in four World Cups for the United States spent most of his career -- in MLS, with four European clubs, and with Puebla in Mexico -- as a bristling, explosive left-sided winger. Former U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann switched him to the backline leading up to the 2014 World Cup, and at 34 he's among the most effective outside backs in the league.

Beasley was a standout winger, winning the Silver Ball at the 1999 U-17 World Cup before shining in the U.S.' quarterfinal run in 2002 and in that wonderful first year with PSV Eindhoven. The move backward reinvigorated his career.

Beasley is in his fourth season with the Houston Dynamo, and while might have lost a step, he still has ample pace. His ability to beat foes one-on-one and combine with attackers is vital in Houston's new-look attack. He's one of MLS' savviest and most skilled players and has evolved into a remarkably consistent left back as his 1-v-1 defending has improved. He's in Bruce Arena's plans as the safety net at one of the more fragile spots on the field for the U.S., making a fifth World Cup is possible.

NEXT: A once-cap player who could fill Bruce Arena's needs