Depth Chart - Left Back
With the players set to report for the start of the 2013 preseason on January 17 - the same day as the MLS SuperDraft - ColoradoRapids.com will be taking a look at the depth chart at each position, based on the formation the team utilized for the last portion of last year.
The outside backs might be the positions that could see the most competition during the preseason. Last year 31-year-old Luis Zapata started 26 of the 34 games on the left side of the defense, but he is no longer with the club. And it appears that Oscar Pareja is comfortable with his option here, all three of which are much younger.
Heading into preseason the most likely battle for the spot appears to be between 22-year-old Chris Klute and 23-year-old Anthony Wallace, although both come in with uncertaintanties. The wild card, or possibly safety net, is Ecuadorian Diego Calderon. After that, it's the versatile Drew Moor.
Klute was acquired on loan from the Atlanta Silverbacks late in the 2012 and made his MLS debut when he started the season finale against Houston. He then was one of four players that received extra attention in the offseason by training with Derby County.
Although only one year older than Klute, Wallace has seven years of MLS experience under his belt. He was the team's starter in the run to MLS Cup 2010, but fell out of favor the following year before a knee injury sidelined him for the season. He was cursed again last year when he tore his Achilles during preseason and missed the entire year.
So, with Klute you have youth yet inexperience. With Wallace, who was trained without restrictions in the fall, you have youth with experience - even though he's missed the majority of the last two years with injury. If neither of these two can win the position, Pareja can turn to Calderon, who played left back consitantly in Ecuador. The 26-year-old might be a better option in the middle, alongside Moor. And possibly, the experience of this center back combination may give Pareja reason to trust one of the youngsters out left.