Ten Keys To 2013 - No. 7: Diego Calderon

USA TODAY Sports

Possibly the crown jewel of the off-season signings the Rapids made, Diego Calderon will need to be a rock if the Rapids are to improve on 2012's defensive performance.

(Apologies that this is a day late!)

I, like a lot of people I'm sure, was expecting a bit more to be pumped into the Rapids defense over the off-season. Instead, we really only got one real signing onto it along with a couple of minor moves to patch things together -- those mostly being player moves, like putting Brian Mullan and Marvell Wynne into the void at right back, Shane O'Neill being moved to center back and the drafting of the talented yet raw Kory Kindle.

Fortunately, that one big defensive signing that the Rapids made was a big one, Ecuadorian Diego Calderon.

We saw good things from Calderon in the highlight tapes we could find before he signed with the club, and he hasn't looked half bad standing alongside Drew Moor at center back during the preseason matches we've seen. Calderon is quick enough to keep up with the majority of the guys he goes against, is very strong on the ball and can tackle cleanly, all good traits for a starter to have.

And oh lord, we need him to be a big starter this season. The Rapids defense gave up 50 goals last year, and just about everyone on the defense looked lost during points of the season. Marvell Wynne especially got punished for his lack of shutdown defensive ability a few times. Calderon brings that shutdown ability to the CB position with one of the most consistent defenders in the league next to him in Moor.

I don't think anyone is worried about how Moor will do this year, but adding a piece like Calderon into the defense might be just the thing to make this defense back into something solid. Hopefully, the guy lives up to the hype because if he doesn't -- or if he goes down injured for the season -- we're essentially right back where we started last season.

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