COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Drew Moor is quiet off the pitch. On it, he speaks a lot.
The Colorado Rapids defender, who has played every minute of every league game this season, has been an integral part of the Rapids back line all year as it's often the 26-year-old Texan who keeps his teammates on the same page with some forthright communication.
And it’s not just with his fellow Rapids on the back line. It’s also vital that he be talking consistently with defensive midfield veterans Pablo Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz, he said.
Although, like in all good relationships, communication should be a two-way street, it is Moor who often finds himself taking the lead, especially after the frequent absence through injury this season of the vocal central defender Julien Baudet.
“It's important that the center backs — when we have possession, when we are moving forward — that’s when we do most of our talking,” Moor said. “So that if we do break down on the attack, we are not leaving big gaps; we’re not leaving open players.”
Moor said an experienced veteran like Mastroeni, not known for not being vocal, wants Moor to talk to him the entire duration of a game.
“He is extremely good at listening,” Moor said of Mastroeni. “I think it’s important that, most of the time, the communication comes from the back.”
Moor said communication will be especially vital on Saturday when the Rapids play the second leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinal in Columbus (4 pm ET, TeleFutura) — particularly when it comes to keeping tabs on Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Moor said the Argentine’s small stature and ability to roam freely around the pitch requires special attention.
PURCHASE: Columbus playoff tickets
“With a guy like Schelotto, who likes to drift in different spots, you have to talk to Jeff [Larentowicz], you have to talk to Pablo,” he said. “As soon as you tell them something, they’ll do exactly that. It all comes from communication. I don’t think people realize how much we talk on the field to each other. It’s almost for 90 minutes, even it’s just a little thing.”
With veterans like Mastroeni and Larentowicz, instinct can often kick in. But the central defender can also point out potential dangers that the defensive midfielders need to deal with.
Moor also spends a lot of time encouraging Kosuke Kimura and Anthony Wallace to use their speed and stamina as the outside fullbacks going forward.
“Both Kosuke and Wally have incredible engines,” he said. “They can get up and down the field. It really is a feature for them to get forward. [Head coach Gary Smith] encourages it. We encourage them to go almost every single time.”
Moor said the team had been studying last week’s 1-0 victory over the Crew in some detail and would use it to gain advantages and try and replicate the dominance of much of the first half.
“We want to keep them on their heels,” he said. “Communication will be key.”