The fullback position has been a question mark for the Colorado Rapids for years now. Chris Klute made a statement in 2013 by answering half of that question with a stellar campaign at left back. However, right back is a position clouded by angst for many Rapids fans, and has been ever since Kosuke Kimura was shipped to Portland midway through the 2012 season. Many believed it would be one of the first positions to be addressed during this off-season but, as of yet, no right backs have been signed.
A total of four different players lined up at RB for the Rapids during preseason: trialists Albert Edward and Tolani Ibikunle, as well as Shane O'Neill and Nathan Sturgis. Marvell Wynne, the incumbent RB (unless you prefer to count that miserable playoff game in Seattle), has played exclusively as a center back--a move many fans will appreciate after a lackluster end to last season. Sturgis began the preseason in his typical spot as a midfielder, but now looks increasingly likely to be the Rapids' starting RB as he has featured there in the two most recent friendlies against Real Salt Lake and New England.
Sturgis truly found a home in the Rapids midfield last season as a box-to-box midfielder, just ask MLS Armchair Analyst, Matt Doyle. Is moving him to RB really the best option? With Hendry Thomas gone to FC Dallas, the Rapids midfield machine that worked so fluidly in 2013 now looks to be missing its bark and its bite. Jose Mari has quality on the ball, and seems to be able to read the game well, but has yet to show the ruthlessness needed to replace Thomas. Sturgis may not be the ball-winner Thomas was either, but that little bit of continuity in the center of the park could go a long way.
It probably won't happen, but it seems a more logical choice would be to switch Chris Klute to right back and have Marc Burch step in at left back. Despite what FIFA 14 might tell you (thanks EA Sports), Klute's dominant foot is his right, not his left. A move to the right side of the field could prove an easy transition. Overlapping runs from the fullback position are what attacking teams feed off of, and Burch showed a reasonable enough willingness to get forward during his time with the Sounders.
As has been the theme of this offseason, who knows what's really going to happen come opening day? At this point, Edson Buddle playing right back doesn't seem too far out of the realm of possibility. It is, however, one of the many questions that still needs answering sooner rather than later if the Rapids hope to return to the playoffs in 2014.
Who do you think is the best choice at right back for the Rapids? Comment below and let us know!