Hendry Thomas, picked up by the Colorado Rapids over the weekend in one of the most high profile signings in quite some time, fits a player archetype similar to Pablo Mastroeni. He's a sure tackler, more of a play-stopper than a playmaker and likes to steal the ball away in midfield.
Obviously, the clear place for him to get stuck in is at defensive midfielder, holding the spot that had been filled by Joseph Nane and Wells Thompson alongside Jeff Larentowicz in the past several games. That's what he did with Wigan and by all accounts, he did it quite well against EPL competition. Logic would dictate that if he could hold the midfield against EPL competition, he should be able to do it against MLS competition. (No offense to the likes of Chris Wondolowski and Fabian Espindola, but they're no Didier Drogba or Robin Van Persie.)
Hold on now, there's another option here.
Colorado has been seeking help in the center of defense all season long and it looks like Hendry is the type of player who could excel as an MLS center back. He's not totally lacking in speed and is a very sure tackler without being very dirty, which sounds like a carbon copy of Drew Moor to me. Perhaps a more physical version, but still a guy who could probably hold his own in the center.
For quite a while I've been saying that it might look good to put out a Zapata - Moor - ??? - Wynne defensive tandem, moving Marvell Wynne back to his original position of right back in order to make room for a solid new center signing.
That also serves to keep Tyrone Marshall and Scott Palguta out of the starting lineups, but that's just an added bonus really.
So Hendry could probably play center back or defensive midfielder. It seems that Thomas does not have a guaranteed contract for the 2013 season, so there's not much time for him to ply his trade with Colorado and show that he's going to be a valuable part of the team's future. Only nine games remain on the schedule, and Thomas isn't going to get all of those minutes for sure. Wherever they stick him, he's going to have to shine.
So what say you guys, do you want to see Thomas putting in his minutes in the midfield or in the back?