Drew Moor proves his worth as Rapids 'Mess with Texas'
Colorado Rapids supporters had t-shirts made up after winning the 2010 MLS Cup which read Ã¢ÂÂMessin' With TexasÃ¢ÂÂ. The text was a play on the slogan Ã¢ÂÂDon't mess with Texas,Ã¢ÂÂ used by the Texas Department of Transportation to reduce littering, but has since become part of America's cultural capital.
Colorado did their fair share of messing on Sunday night against FC Dallas. From cutting off distribution out of the back to bullying Dallas playmaker David Ferreira into the far corners of the pitch, the Rapids hacked at FCD's gameplan enough to bruise their way to an extra-time 2-1 win.
Even the frigidly cold Toronto weather and bumpy pitch seemed specially designed to mess with the Texan club.
But one Rapids hero you won't find donning that particular shirt is Drew Moor.
The Dallas native was in attendance in the first ever Dallas Burn match in 1996 (before they rebranded as FC Dallas). He's got a slew of Burn trading cards. He was even drafted by FCD, spent four years there, and captained the side for a year.
Moor (left) gets one over on his hometown team
But the 26-year-old was pawned off to the Colorado Rapids in 2009 in exchange for defender Ugo Ihemelu. The Rapids craved Moor's versatility and quiet confidence in the back; Dallas profited from Ihemelu's pace and prior relationship with coach Schellas Hyndman.
Both sides benefited from the swap, with each club streaking to the MLS Cup final. But you can't quite shake the sensation that Colorado fans feel a bit better about the deal just right now.
Moor strung together the best form of his career during the 2010 playoffs, putting in a series of stalwart performances to hold a shaky defensive line together and quietly soak up attacking threats. Just as an example, it was Moor clearing Jeff Cunningham's shot off the line in the 123rd minute of the final when a goal would have surely led to penalties.
The unassuming Moor has come to represent Colorado's transfer policy over the past few seasons. Under coach Gary Smith, the side has picked up mostly underrated and under-appreciated MLS performers, plugging them into a system in which they can thrive.
Marvell Wynne, a pacy fullback Toronto FC tried out in midfield, was transformed by Smith into an effective centreback, exploiting his one-on-one defending and recovery speed. Jeff Larentowicz, a forgotten ginger who couldn't get adequate payment from the New England Revolution, became half of the toughest midfield pairing in MLS alongside captain Pablo Mastroeni. The inconsistent Mac Kandji joined in return for the inconsistent Mehdi Ballouchi to create the game-winner in the final. Brian Mullan made MLS history by securing his fifth MLS Cup ring after joining midseason in a trade for the injured Colin Clark.
Backing them all up and snuffing out all their mistakes is Moor.
When Gary Smith wanted to tighten the screw in the dying minutes of regular time, he shifted Moor to leftback. From there, Moor continued racking up countless interceptions and solidified his impervious marking to close down shop as Dallas threw both the kitchen and the bathroom sink forward late on.
Thanks to his thankless defensive displays, Moor has a ring around his finger and bragging rights back in his home state.
Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm going to go back to Dallas for Thanksgiving here in the next couple of days and itÃ¢ÂÂs going to feel good,Ã¢ÂÂ he said, according to MLSsoccer.com.
Turkey and cranberry sauce never tasted quite so fine south of the Mason-Dixon line.