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Drawing of the 30: Defenders

January 11, 2011 | 12:26 pm No comments
By Shaun Schafer

(Editor’s note: This is part two of a series looking at how the Rapids will fill out an expanded roster for 2011.)

There are only six defenders on the current roster, but there is probably no position in better health for the Rapids. There’s also no area that will tell more about the team’s long-term plans for captain Pablo Mastroeni, 34, than what Colorado does on defense.

Since winning the MLS cup in November, the Rapids have shed a veteran defender (Julien Baudet) and picked up a veteran defender (Tyrone Marshall). The club also swapped out a young defender in Danny Earls, but has yet to name a replacement.

While that spot is sure to be filled, the current roster needs seven more bodies to reach 30. Before we look at what players might be added, consider the four at the back.

Across the Back: Kosuke Kimura, 26, on the right turned into a weapon in 2010. Thanks in part to the solid tandem of Marvell Wynne, 24, and Drew Moor, 26, in the middle, Kimura was no longer using his speed to try and fill gaps at the back. Anthony Wallace, 21, could be on the left side for the next decade. His arrival from FC Dallas in July was the perfect reminder of the difference a natural left footer can make.

Beyond the starters, it gets thin quick. Marshall, 36, looked creaky last season, but should be serviceable in relief and as an spot starter. Scott Palguta, 28, is a step down in speed, but he can play anywhere across the back.

Outlook: Wynne will likely continue to develop in his second full season in central defense. After playing every minute in ’10, Moor will have to get a few breaks as the regular season is four games longer and the team has an additional competition (CONCACAF) to consider.

Colorado needs some bodies here as insurance and to field a reserve side.

Likely Move: Grab a couple of young defenders in the SuperDraft. Let the kids get some reserve time. Slot Mastroeni into central defense a few times this year. He has played that role capably for the U.S. National Team. With two years left on his contract, this could lengthen Mastroeni’s tenure with the club, add some veteran savvy in the back, and allow some tinkering in the midfield.

Next Up: Midfielders

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