Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Clubs shake up their centerback pairings
by Paul Kennedy, March 28th, 2014 9:02PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS SPOTLIGHT]Saturday's Seattle-Columbus match will shine a spotlight on the new centerback pairings at both clubs. Chad Marshall's move from the Crew has helped stabilize the leaky Sounders' backline, while the new Michael Parkhurst-Giancarlo Gonzalez pairing has quickly emerged as one of the best in MLS, which has seen 13 of 19 teams bring in new starting center backs or shift players into the middle from other positions.

MLS:Week 4 Schedule

The play of Parkhurst and Marshall should come as no surprise as both are former MLS Defenders of the Year -- Parkhurst in 2007 and Marshall in 2008 and 2009 -- and Gonzalez is no stranger to American fans as he plays for Costa Rica's national team. Sounders coach Sigi Schmid went so far as to say that Marshall's quality was as good or better than the center backs being called into the national team.

Seattle's trade for Marshall, whom Schmid had when he was at the Crew, contributed to the reshaping of four MLS backlines in total as Columbus brought in Parkhurst and Gonzalez from Europe after Marshall's departure, Seattle dealt John Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Iannito Chicago after picking up Marshall, and the Fire sent Austin Berry to Philadelphia after he became expendable following the acquisition of Hurtado and Ianni.

In the first three weeks of the MLS season, only eight of the 19 teams have managed to line up the same centerback pairing. And of those eight, only one team -- Toronto FC -- is using a duo -- Steven Caldwell and Doneil Henry -- that was regularly paired together in the middle last season. (Matteo Ferrari and Hassoun Camara started five games together last season for Montreal, though Camara usually started at right back.)

Injuries have already taken their toll. Norberto Paparatto was expected to solidify the Portland backline, but the Argentine missed the Timbers' 2-0 loss to Colorado with a groin injury. Indeed, neither Portland nor New York, the 2013 regular-season conference champions, have used the same centerback pairing in any of their three matches.

Aaron Maund
replaced Chris Schuler (recovering from ankle surgery) in the Real Salt Lake backline for the first two games, but he's now out with a hamstring injury. Aaron Wheeler, a forward for most of his career, was slotted in at centerback by Union coach John Hackworth after Berry was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Eriq Zavaleta, a forward coming out of Indiana, was used at center back by Chivas USA after Bobby Burling was injured.

One centerback pairing is a reunion of sorts. Marvell Wynne and Drew Moor, who started at centerback on Colorado's 2010 MLS championship, are back together in the middle of the Rapids' backline. Last season, Oscar Pareja went with Wynne at right back and young Shane O'Neill in the middle. But a change of coaches has resulted in a switch as Pablo Mastroeni, who played on the MLS Cup 2010 team with Wynne and Moor, switched Wynne and O'Neill.

2014 Starting MLS Center Backs:
*Chicago: 3 John Kennedy Hurtado (Seattle), 3 Bakary Soumare.
Chivas USA:3 Carlos Bocanegra, 2 Bobby Burling/1 Eriq Zavaleta (on loan from Seattle).
*Colorado:2 Marvell Wynne (moved from right back), 2 Drew Moor.
*Columbus:2 Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg), 2 Giancarlo Gonzalez (Valerenga).
FC Dallas: 3 Matt Hedges, 1 Moises Hernandez (Municipal)/2 Stephen Keel.
*D.C. United:2 Bobby Boswell (Houston), 2 Jeff Parke (Philadelphia).
*Houston: 2 David Horst (Portland), 2 Jermaine Taylor.
LA Galaxy:2 Omar Gonzalez, 1 Leonardo/1 A.J. DeLaGarza.
*Montreal:2 Matteo Ferrari, 2 Hassoun Camara (moved from right back).
New England: 3 A.J. Soares, 2 Jose Goncalves/1 Andrew Farrell (moved from right back).
New York:2Jamison Olave, 2 Armando (Cordoba), 2 Ibrahim Sekagya.
Philadelphia:3 Amobi Okugo, 2 Austin Berry (Chicago)/1 Aaron Wheeler (moved from forward).
Portland: 2 Pa Modou Kah, 2 Futty Danso, 2 Norberto Paparatto (Tigre).
Real Salt Lake: 3 Nat Borchers, 2 Aaron Maund1 Chris Schuler.
San Jose:2 Victor Bernandez, 1 Clarence Goodson/1 Jason Hernandez.
*Seattle:3 Chad Marshall (Columbus), 3 Djimi Traore.
Sporting KC:3 Aurelien Collin, 2 Matt Besler/1 Ike Opara.
*Toronto FC:2 Steven Caldwell, 2 Doneil Henry.
Vancouver:3 Andy O'Brien, 2 Jay DeMerit/1 Johnny Leveron.
*Started same pairing each game.


1 comment
  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: March 29, 2014 at 11:31 a.m.
    Fans follow players. We can see that signing a Michael Bradley, for example, has created great fan interest in Toronto. But churn hurts the fan's connection to the team. This isn't like baseball, where you can change the manager and a couple players year after year and no one will notice. The style of play dictated by the manager should be a team signature. Good teams are known for their solid back line, usually anchored by a long-serving totem like Rio, Terry, Puyol, Lam, Chiellini. If I can't name the players on my local MLS team because they all change every 2-3 years, I have no connection to that team.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Copa Centenario: Castillo replaces Chandler on U.S. roster    
The USA has called in Edgar Castillo to replace Timmy Chandler on its roster for the ...
MLS Countdown: Kaka recalled by Brazil for Centenario    
The announcement came a day too late to benefit the Philadelphia Union, but Orlando City midfielder ...
U.S. Abroad: Gonzalez's Pachuca has edge in Liga MX final    
Omar Gonzalez, who was passed over for a spot on the U.S. Copa Centenario team, started ...
BeIN Sports adds special Copa Centenario coverage    
One vital aspect of soccer's increased television exposure is how events are treated by non-rights holders ...
USA-Bolivia: Spotlight on Pulisic's bid for starting job    
Christian Pulisic has already impressed his coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, enough that he's in contention to start ...
What They're Saying: Jozy Altidore    
"When Haiti qualified, I just thought it'd be a cool thing, because they haven't qualified for ...
TV Report: Fox network twinbill draws 1,613,000 viewers    
Last Saturday's FA Cup-MLS doubleheader on Fox reached a combined 1,613,000 viewers. Manchester United's 2-1 overtime ...
Concacaf turns to NBA for new CEO    
In another step to rehabilitate itself after five years of scandal, Concacaf hired Philippe Moggio out ...
Women's players' strike motions go to judge for decision    
Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman took under advisement competing motions for summary judgment made by attorneys for ...
USL: Lou City's Goodwin off to Harvard Medical School    
Goalkeeper Scott Goodwin announced that he's leaving USL club Louisville City FC to attend Harvard Medical ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives