Pareja faces 'good problem' with Moor available following positive results
The Colorado Rapids won their first game of the season last week. That victory came on the heels of a 2-2 draw. In both of those positive results, coach Oscar Pareja used a revampted backline - in which none of the four defenders had started in those positions in the first four games of the season.
Now the second-year coach faces the question that could be posed several times this season: who plays when everyone is available?
After starting games 1-4 at right back, Marvell Wynne moved in to the center of the defense the past two matches, replacing the injured Diego Calderon. Wynne was joined in the middle by 19-year-old Shane O'Neill, who stepped in for the suspended Drew Moor. Brian Mullan moved over from left back to right back, and 22-year-old Chris Klute started on the left side.
But now with alternate team captain Moor off suspension, Pareja says he's not yet decided if the veteran defender will step back in against Chivas USA on Saturday at The Home Depot Center (8:30 p.m. MT, Altitude2).
"It's a possibility," Pareja said on Wednesday of Moor not starting on Saturday. "The boys did a good job. (Last week) was our first game this year when we had a clean sheet, and that's important. But at the same time, the importance of Drew's leadership on this team is not a secret...We have a good problem to solve there, so we'll see. So far it's the middle of the week and we have two days to sort it out."
With the emergence of several other young players early on, including midfielder Dillon Powers, forward Deshorn Brown, and goalkeeper Clint Irwin, Pareja may be faced with similar lineup questions when Martin Rivero, Jaime Castrillon, and Matt Pickens return from their long-term injuries.
"It's a good problem to have," Pareja said. "I would rather have that problem and lose a little bit of sleep thinking of who I'm going to play, instead of thinking who am I going to play because the others are hurt. We're going to benefit from it because they need to be challenged, and they know me enough to know that if they work hard during the week and show that they need to start, they will."