Colorado Rapids 10 Keys To 2014: The Defensive Tinkering

USA TODAY Sports

Messing with one of the best defenses in Rapids history? We had better hope it works.

As we do every year, Burgundy Wave is counting down our 10 most important things to watch for the Rapids this year. Coming in at number 7, defensive tinkering.

It's a simple move, really. The only major change that Pablo Mastroeni seems to have enacted roster-wise during his preseason time with the team (that didn't involve a new player, at least) was a simple positional swap in the defense. That positional swap could work out, or it could wreak havoc on what was one of the best defenses in team history last year.

The move was a swapping of Marvell Wynne and Shane O'Neill. O'Neill has famously been getting national team attention as a center back and Wynne had probably his best season since 2010 when moved back to his old position of right back last year, and both of them played their part in a defense that gave up only 38 goals in the regular season, a drop of 12 from the year before.

It could easily pay dividends, especially on Shane's part, though. O'Neill had a decent run out the few times he was used as a right back last year (according to WhoScored, it was actually where he played his best soccer) and his aerial ability isn't quite as polished as his ability to get forward, which could give him an in on eventually being a solid right-sided defender.

As for Wynne... well, we have Grant van de Casteele in reserve? We'll just have to hope that Pablo sees that old 2010 flair back in his old teammate's game, otherwise we may have a repeat of Wynne's disastrous 2012 campaign.

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