Colorado’s defense has seemingly taken shape for 2020, thanks to a flurry of moves over the last two weeks. Sam Vines and Keegan Rosenberry are all but guaranteed to return as starting fullbacks, with fan favorite Lalas Abubakar and newly acquired U.S. Youth International Auston Trusty anchoring the center.
Abubakar’s case for a starting role is clear – the Ghanaian was a key figure in the revitalized Rapids following Anthony Hudson’s departure and a spot in the lineup is his to lose. Trusty seems the obvious candidate to pair with Abubakar, as the young center back has experience alongside Vines (with the U.S. Under-20s) and Rosenberry (in Philadelphia). There’s also the departures of Tommy Smith and Axel Sjöberg at play, as well as the uncertainty surrounding Korte Ford’s ability after he missed the entirety of 2019 due to injury.
Ford will be joined by veteran Drew Moor – who returns to the Rapids as a Free Agent following his contract expiring in Toronto – as primary rotation candidates. They’ll likely split time as replacements due to injury, suspension, or fixture congestion throughout the year. Danny Wilson will wait in reserve with Abdul Rwatubyaye should major injuries impact the squad.
Vines and Rosenberry share a similar status with Abubakar: they’re already locked-in starters at left and right fullback on matchday one. The more interesting tale lies in the depth behind the presumed first choice wide defenders. Academy graduate Seb Anderson made a handful of appearances as second choice right back last season, some eventful, others not as much. Deklan Wynne, much like Ford, remains a relative unknown after injury sidelined him for most of last season. Presumably he’ll be saddled with the difficult task of wrestling the starting left back job away from Vines.
Should all other options falter, we’ve seen Ford and Abubakar fill-in out wide on occasion. Things will certainly be hairy should that ever be the case again.
On paper, this Rapids defense looks insanely promising. The best part? We haven’t even seen the ceiling of the core four. All projected starters are aged 25 or less and have consistently shown improvement throughout their entire careers in MLS. Coupled with a motivated Kortne Ford and the leadership of Drew Moor in rotation, it’s hard not to feel excited about what this group can accomplish under Robin Fraser. If all goes right, we might be witnessing the formation of Colorado’s back line for years to come.
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Image Credit: Colorado Rapids