Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rapids All-Time Team: Left Center Back

The starting left center back for the Rapids All-Time Team is Ritchie Kotschau.

How Acquired: Traded Adin Brown, Scott Vermillion, and our 2002 first round pick to Tampa Bay for Carlos Valderrama, Scott Garlick, and Richie Kotschau.

Years In Colorado: Mid 2001 through 2005

How Departed: Traded to Columbus for Cornell Glen.

This pick is probably a bit of a surprise to some readers. honestly it was a bit of a surprise to me when I sat down to figure out who should claim the third center back spot. Most of the other obvious choices either haven't spent enough time in Colorado to make the cut, or made their name with another team and their time in Colorado was nothing special. Kotschau, however, was in Colorado for the prime of his career and was one of the cornerstones of the Rapids lineup during that time.

In his 4.5 seasons with the team Richie played in 116 of 132 games, making 106 starts. He's 6th in team history in minutes, games played, and games started. Balboa is the only defender ahead of him in any of those categories. In Kotschau's last two seasons in Colorado the Rapids had the 2nd best defense each year.

Unlike his teammates on the All-Time team backline, Kotschau was a pure defender. While Vermes and Balboa were good for a couple of goals every season and were always a danger on set pieces Richie only had one goal and seven assists in his Rapids career. He averaged just over two shots on goal for a season for the team. Needless to say his job was to hang back on set pieces to prevent quick counter-attacks. Due to that though, Kotschau gave his coaches many options for using him, as he spend time on both wings and at center back. Most often he played left back but he was just as comfortable on the right or teaming up with Robin Fraser or Nat Borchers in the center.

So that's it for the All-Time Defense. A back 3 of Peter Vermes, Marcelo Balboa, and Richie Kotschau. Now its on to midfield.

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