Commerce City, Colo. - Hours before the team was set to leave for Los Angeles ahead of Friday's season opener against Chivas USA, the Rapids finalized a trade with Toronto FC that brought speedy defender Marvell Wynne to Colorado in exchange for midfielder Nick LaBrocca.
Since entering the League in 2006 as the number one overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft, the 23 year-old Wynne has appeared in 96 regular season matches, including 26 in his first year with the New York Red Bulls and 70 over the past three seasons with Toronto. Known for his speed and toughness as a right-side defender, Wynne has also scored twice and added 13 assists.
“I’m delighted to add Marvell,” said Rapids head coach Gary Smith after Friday’s practice at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. “He becomes a very, very valuable piece of that defensive group moving forward. Not only is he already broken into the national team, but I think he’s proved over the last two or three seasons what a talent he is defensively, and he gives us a lot of qualities that I think we’re going to need throughout this season”
In 2007, Wynne made his U.S. Men’s National Team debut against Argentina in the Copa America Tournament. The next year, he was a member of the U.S. Olympic team that competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. And, in June of 2009, he made his FIFA World Cup Qualifying debut against Costa Rica before taking part of the U.S. team’s historic run at the Confederations Cup in South Africa.
To obtain a player with Wynne’s characteristics, the Rapids felt they had to give up value in return. In this case, it was the versatile LaBrocca and a third round pick in the 2011 SuperDraft that went to Toronto.
LaBrocca had been the iron-man for the team of late, playing more games and minutes than any other Rapids player since 2008. He appeared in 61 games and scored four goals for Colorado after originally being drafted by the Rapids with the 35th overall pick in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft.
“I would like to say that Nick’s time here has been a very productive one, not just for him but for the team,” said Smith. “He’s played nearly every minute that he’s been available for me, and has proved what a real talent he is. Unfortunately, for some personal reasons on Nick’s side, we were in a position where he was available for trade.”
The second-year coach is looking forward to adding a new element to his backline, and hopes to take advantage of the skill set that Wynne possesses.
“Well of course it gives us some added competition in that natural right back slot,” said Smith. “I wouldn’t rule it out that he can slot inside and compete for those central defensive areas; although naturally he will be fighting for that right back area.”
“But I think more importantly what it gives is are some of the qualities that we might have been lacking, certainly towards the end of the season, which is added pace and power and that athleticism that we well know here, at altitude, has a big affect.”
The Rapids begin the 2010 season on Friday against Chivas USA, and Smith is hopeful that the newest acquisition takes part.
“Marvell will be in LA when we get there later today (Thursday),” noted Smith. “We’ll have a chat and assess his situation physically. Obviously I’m not sure how his preseason has unfolded, but I would hope that he’s - if not starting - can figure and play a very important role tomorrow for us.”