Wallace Achilles tear leaves Rapids stretched at left back

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Colorado Rapids defender Anthony Wallace’s season-ending torn left Achilles was nothing short of a freak injury.

While jogging around the Rapids’ training facility on Monday with team trainer Jaime Rojas to begin his rehabilitation from a previous knee injury, the defender crumpled up thinking he’d been kicked. But when he went to feel the back of his ankle, his Achilles wasn’t there.

The injury will require Wallace to have season-ending surgery on Thursday in Denver, and with new acquisition Hunter Freeman also struggling with an ankle injury, the Rapids backline will be stretched, especially at a left back spot that they had targeted as potentially problematic. Head coach Oscar Pareja said he’s looking at the Wallace injury as an opportunity for backups to potentially show their worth, but is keeping open the possibility of shifting central defenders out wide.

“We have different options there, maybe Scott [Palguta], maybe Drew [Moor] can do the job there,” Pareja told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “But at the moment Luis [Zapata] is playing and we’re seeing a couple of options we may have. So, we’ll see.”

Zapata was signed last month after a three-week trial with Colorado and has been seeing first-team action in preseason games and during training. Zapata is the favorite to start at left back – with Moor and Wynne in the middle and Kosuke Kimura out right – in Saturday’s First Kick opener against the Columbus Crew at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (6 pm ET, MLS Live).