Moor, Wynne ruling Rapids' back line
As Bob Bradley’s roster deadline approaches, the speculation
is rampant over who will join Jozy Altidore up front for the U.S. National
Herculez Gomez? Edson Buddle? Conor Casey? Will Brian Ching
Bradley has little more than two weeks to cement his 30-man
preliminary roster, but while all eyes are on the team’s strikers, perhaps they
should be focused just as much on the squad’s back line.
With Oguchi Onyewu barely having kicked a ball in recent
months due to injury, there is a lack of depth at center back. And Bradley
could do a lot worse than look at the performances so far this season of the
Colorado Rapids’ pairing of Drew Moor and Marvell Wynne.
Both acquired in controversial trades – Moor swapping the
hoops of Dallas for Ugo Ihemelu last year and Wynne acquired just before the 2010
season for Nick LaBrocca – the two are
now among the first players each week on coach Gary Smith’s team sheet .
Wynne’s speed complements Moor’s smoothness and
organization. And they are two of very few players on the Rapids who have
played every minute on the MLS schedule so far in 2010.
“What do you want from your center backs?” Smith said. “You
want players that are reliable and who can make life extremely difficult for
their most creative players. They give everyone else a bit of a lift because
the other players know that they have tigers behind them. It’s great.”
Both players have international experience. Moor has five
caps, including a World Cup qualifier against Barbados. Wynne has played three
times for his country, including a World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica.
And both offer options. When Julien Baudet has played in
central defense for the Rapids, Moor has moved out to either right or left
back. Wynne made his name in Toronto with speedy runs down the flank from a
right back position.
Whether Smith opts on occasion to use them out wide, Moor
and Wynne have cemented their places at center back with the consistency of
their performances this season. The coach praised them again after the hard
fought 2-1 victory on the road Saturday against New England.
“It is very difficult to come away from home,” he said.
“Teams want to take advantage of their own field and to limit teams to a few
opportunities is very difficult. The guys have been absolutely wonderful, not
only tonight, but in all the games so far.”