Drew Moor may have enjoyed a career year last season, but he didn't expect anyone beyond the Rocky Mountains to really notice. And that's fine with him.
The Colorado Rapids defender, who has been about as dependable as they come in MLS since he debuted in 2005, scored four goals last year while playing across the back line and logging every minute of 32 league matches.
Yet his name rarely seems to surface when the conversation turns to the league's top defenders, even though his resume includes an MLS Cup title, a handful of U.S. national team caps and the league record for consecutive 90-minute performances by a field player, with 69.
"I don't feel like I've ever really gotten any individual recognition," Moor said. "Although I feel like last year probably statistically was my best year, there are some great defenders in this league and there are some great players in this league. If I ever do get individual recognition, I'd be extremely proud and that would be a great moment. But that stuff is not important to me."
The 28-year-old has made at least 26 starts each of the past six years, and in 2010 he played every minute in the regular season and playoffs for a Colorado team that claimed the MLS Cup. With seven starts under his belt this season for the Rapids (3-4-0), as well as a goal in Colorado's season-opening win over Columbus last month, he's well on his way to another steady campaign.
"He's consistent," Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens said. "We know what we're going to get out of him every week, every time he's on the field, every time at training. You know he's an honest player, honest athlete that takes care of his body and goes out to perform to the best of his ability, day in, day out."
After Moor was shipped to the Rapids in an August 2009 trade from FC Dallas, he was joined in Colorado the subsequent March by Marvell Wynne, a right back renowned for his blazing speed. While both players had largely made their names in MLS as fullbacks, then-coach Gary Smith made the decision to slide them inside.
While it was an atypical partnership at first, it has since blossomed into one of the league's more effective centerback duos.
"I feel like we complement each other extremely well," Moor explained. "He's just a beast. He's fast, he's quick, he's so athletic that he sweeps up many of my mistakes. We're just on the same page. As he always says, he deals with everything on the ground, I deal with anything in the air."
Moor, though, isn't always deployed in central defense. When needed, he's comfortable shifting to the right or left back positions, and he even filled in at holding midfield for a match earlier this season as well.
It's versatility Moor says he developed during his rookie season with Dallas, during which he made 20 appearances while playing a variety of positions. As he put it, "I think that was huge for my development."
"He can go to the right, he can to the left, he can go to the middle — that's big time," Pickens said. "He doesn't really skip a beat too much."
Earlier in his career, Moor's reliable play garnered him five caps with the U.S. national team during the early stages of Bob Bradley's tenure. In 2007, he earned a spot on the Copa America team that traveled to Venezuela, playing alongside Wynne for the first time and also going head to head with current teammate Jaime Castrillon of Colombia. In February 2008, he started a friendly between the U.S. and Mexico, notching an assist on Jozy Altidore's first international goal.
But in recent years, Moor has become a forgotten man in the U.S. picture, falling behind a slew of promising young talents at fullback and centerback. That doesn't mean, however, he has given up hope on getting a recall.
"Every single day I think about it, and it has been a while now," Moor acknowledged. "The experiences I've had with the national team have been unbelievable, and that's another thing that helps motivate me and drive me. But I've always said, especially these past couple years, if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. All I can control is what I do here with the Colorado Rapids."
And with Colorado, his goal is a simple one: get back on top. Moor, after all, was quick to point out that now he has won a title, claiming another has become somewhat of an obsession, a hunger that drives him every single day in training.
"Before I won an MLS Cup, it was kind of the dream, it was kind of, 'Oh, that would be great,'" Moor said. "But after having won it … you don't want anybody else to win a Cup after you do. It killed me last year to watch LA win it and to enjoy that. I think you kind of become selfish, but that's important sometimes as a soccer player. You want to be the best."