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Drew Moor accepts sub role with grace as Colorado Rapids defense throws second straight clean sheet

Before Saturday night’s 1-0 win over Chivas USA, it had been six years, 29 days and 21 hours since Colorado Rapids defender Drew Moor rode the pine.

One of MLS’ ultimate iron men – he played in every minute of 68 consecutive MLS matches between 2009 and 2011 and played every minute of every regular-season game in 2012 – Moor started Saturday’s game on the bench for the first time since September 13, 2006, when he was still with FC Dallas.

Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja instead chose to start 19-year-old Homegrown defender Shane O’Neill at center back in Moor’s place, and Pareja’s gamble paid big dividends as Colorado posted their second straight clean sheet on Saturday night in at the Home Depot Center.

“Drew is a leader of this group,” Pareja told reporters postgame. “Drew is a starter and he knows it. The [defense] played a good game against Portland, [and they] played a good game against Salt Lake. … I thought he came on in the second half and played very well.”

OPTA Chalkboard: Colorado's high press disrupts Chivas completely

Just a week removed from the Rapids’ first win of the season, a 1-0 triumph over Real Salt Lake on April 6, Pareja played the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it card, leaving the same starting lineup for the Chivas game as the week prior, even with Moor available again after serving a two-game suspension.

While Moor came back in for the start of the second half and took back the captain’s armband from Hendry Thomas, O’Neill stayed in the game, shifting to a holding midfield role as Colorado held on for the three points. Moor came in to replace midfielder Nick LaBrocca, who suffered a slight groin injury during the first half.

“It’s a fantastic result,” Moor told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the game. “It was different coming off the bench, but in those circumstances, you just have to go in and play your game.”

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Meanwhile, the 29-year-old isn’t exactly used to a bench role, but he says he’s willing to accept a different spot as he works to reclaim his regular role on the Rapids backline.

“I’m a competitive guy. I want to be playing 90 minutes as much as possible,” Moor said. “Obviously, I’m not OK with me not starting, but in a positive way because I understand why I didn’t start. The defense has been playing extremely well over the course of the last three games.”

Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.