As Bob Bradley’s roster deadline approaches, the speculation is rampant over who will join Jozy Altidore up front for the U.S. National Team.
Herculez Gomez? Edson Buddle? Conor Casey? Will Brian Ching be healthy?
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.”