This week, we're going to be taking a look back at the Ten Keys to 2013 series I put out prior to the season. Number 3 was defensive cohesion.
Absolutely nobody expected the Rapids defense to be nearly as good as they ended up being in 2013. Matt Pickens was entering an odd-numbered year, which we all know are his lesser ones. (I absolutely love that joke and hope it never gets old.) Even though the two unfortunately defensively challenged fullbacks the team had were removed, only one big name was brought in, Diego Calderon.
It turns out that adding him, along with shifting three players who were already on the team into different positions, was enough. (Those moves, for those of you not keeping track, involved moving Marvell Wynne from center back to right back, moving Shane O'Neill from a D-mid into a center back, and moving Brian Mullan from the midfield into a fullback role.) Calderon went out early in the season, but the rest of the season was well taken care of by the emergence of Chris Klute and Shane O'Neill. The biggest difference? The technical abilities of the defense skyrocketed with those two back there, which meant less meaningless bopping the ball around and more smart passes and runs forward that turned into Rapids chances.
Assuming they both get better next year, the defense should remain formidable. That's always good news.