Ten Keys To The Season - No. 3: Defensive Cohesion

Byron Hetzler-US PRESSWIRE

The Rapids defense wasn't just bad because of a lack of good players last year, but they had some other problems as well.

Priority No. 1 this off-season for the Rapids was, in my mind, getting something done about the defense. They did so by releasing all the crappy depth the team had in the back, along with the less-than-stellar two starters in the outside back positions. They also got Diego Calderon, which is a solid move all on its own.

A bit more importantly, they're going to need to get some cohesion into the more technical parts of the game. There was some talent on the roster defensively last year, even though they gave up 50 goals over the course of the season. A lot of the problems were just on the more technical side.

You'd have a guy in position to make the play, but then head it straight back down into the ground instead of out of the box -- Marvell Wynne, looking at you. Both wingbacks put in some good work on the attack, but they tended to sit at the halfway line instead of, well, in the defense. That left the team incredibly wide open to counter-attacks, which didn't help matters any. The team couldn't finish an offside trap to save their lives, and in fact that might be what got Luis Zapata canned.

Talent-wise, I'm not really worried about this year. I think we're deep enough at every position that I wouldn't be concerned about that causing a problem. If they can get their proverbial crap together tactically, that would be a bit more important in my eyes.

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