The already-busy Colorado Rapids are on the verge of making yet another move.
Just a few days after announcing the acquisition of striker Edson Buddle from the LA Galaxy, the team is close to finalizing a deal for Ecuadorian defender Diego Calderón, multiple sources confirmed to MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday.
Calderón’s signing, expected to be finalized later this week, will bring an experienced international player to a team that struggled defensively in 2012. The 26-year-old has five caps for the Ecuadorian national team and has been on the gameday roster for each of Ecuador’s nine 2014 World Cup qualifiers so far.
He joins the Rapids from Ecuadorian powerhouse LDU Quito, for whom he made his professional debut in 2005 at age 16. Calderón has more than 200 appearances for LDU, and was part of the club's 2008 Copa Libertadores and 2009 Copa Sudamericana-winning squads, alongside new Sporting KC Designated Player Claudio Bieler.
The Rapids declined to comment specifially on Calderón (above right), though club president Tim Hinchey tweeted on Tuesday that the he was “excited to welcome a Rapids player this week” and that the player “will be a key addition to our back four.” He later projected the player as a “left-footed CB or LB.”
Calderón projects to be that player in Colorado, a move which could push Marvell Wynne back to his original position of right back. Center back Drew Moor has also played right back in the past and midfielder Brian Mullan played there at times in 2012 as well.
After a 2012 when a leaky backline allowed 50 goals, fifth-most in MLS, technical director Paul Bravo and head coach Oscar Pareja prioritized adding depth and competition to the Colorado defense. The team’s starting wingbacks in 2012, Luis Zapata (left back) and Hunter Freeman (right back, selected by New England Revolution in Re-Entry Draft) won’t be back in 2012.
Anthony Wallace, who missed 2012 with a right knee injury, is expected to be the team’s new left back, while Wynne could be the early favorite to start at right back.
Calderón’s acquisition is the latest in a string of aggressive moves from Colorado’s front office. Last month, the club parted ways with franchise leading scorer and Denver icon Conor Casey and acquired Buddle to take his place.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.