Before last Friday, Rapids defender Marvell Wynne had never played at center back in all his years in soccer.
Saturday afternoon at DSG Park he’ll go for an encore performance.
“It looks that way for now,” Wynne told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “I’ve been at the center back position and a few times at right back during practice this week. But it looks that way [center back].”
And his second match ever at center back will come against none other than Brian McBride and the Chicago Fire on Saturday afternoon. Wynne will partner with Drew Moor again at the heart of the defense.
Although Moor and Wynne knew one another from previous U.S. National Team camps, few would have expected them to team up for the impressive showing in last Friday’s season opener. Wynne was thrust into a new position with a new team just 24 hours after his trade from Toronto FC to Colorado was made official.
He was universally praised in his Rapids debut at right center back during the 1-0 win against Chivas USA.
“The biggest complement [head coach Gary Smith] gave me was that I made the difficult decisions and I made the right ones,” Wynne said. “That was a boost for me. There are times as a center back when you need to know whether to go or stay and he said I made the right decisions.”
As a right back Wynne was renowned for his trademark sprints up and down the flank. Now, instead of using his speed to attack, he utilizes his natural physical ability to stop forwards.
Although it may have seemed like a simple move to shuffle over one spot on the back line, the difference for Wynne is a stark one.
“You’re always focused and always tuned in,” Wynne said of the new role. “At the right back position, when the ball is on the other side, you can stroll your way back into position. At center back, you’re always on edge and you move a lot more than I expected.”
Trades are nothing new in the Wynne household. Marvell’s father played professional baseball and was part of four trades during his career. It was his dad who put the TFC-Rapids trade into perspective for him.
“I’ve spoken to my dad about it,” Wynne said. “He says there’s nothing wrong with being traded. It means you are still wanted. So I have my head up and I know I have everything to look forward to this year.”
One of the things to look forward to is two matches against his ex-team Toronto FC. The Rapids host Toronto on April 18 and then travel north of the border on July 10.
Wynne said he was “blindsided” by the trade from Toronto, and that his “pride was hurt” and “ego shattered.” Although it is difficult to believe, Wynne says he’ll play those games against TFC just like he would any other game.
Even harder to believe is the fact that even more position changes may be in his future.
“I would consider myself a right back still,” Wynne said. “I could be a right mid, possibly. And now I can possibly be a center mid. If a team is looking for any of those positions, my name can come up. And the more positions I can play, the better.”