Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Veteran Defender Drew Moor Leads Toronto FC Backline into MLS Playoffs

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Veteran Defender Drew Moor Leads Toronto FC Backline into MLS Playoffs

Article excerpt

The defence never rests with Drew Moor

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TORONTO - Goalkeeper Clint Irwin's MLS debut came without notice March 16, 2013, when he was summoned off the Colorado bench four minutes into a game against Real Salt Lake to replace an injured Matt Pickens.

Rapids teammate Drew Moor approached him with some advice that stuck.

"He was just like 'Hey, enjoy it. Just have fun,'" Irwin recalled this week. "That's the way that he approaches things."

A 12-year veteran of Major League Soccer with five caps for the U.S. national team, the 32-year-old Moor has not lost his passion for the game. Now an integral member of Toronto FC, he will be a major player Wednesday when TFC hosts the Philadelphia Union in its first ever home playoff game.

GM Tim Bezbatchenko calls it "our biggest game in club history."

"It's huge," Moor said. "I think it's huge for the club, it's huge for the city and the fans."

Toronto's only other foray into the post-season in its 10-year existence was a 3-0 road loss last season in Montreal.

Moor has already won the MLS Cup in Toronto, with Colorado in 2010 when the championship game was held on a neutral site. He joined Toronto as a free agent last December, with Irwin coming later via trade.

Moor's advice to teammates going into Wednesday's playoff showdown hasn't much changed from that he gave Irwin three years ago.

"I would just say go be yourself. To enjoy it, take it in ... Treat it like certainly it's a big game but we've prepared (for it) all season," he said.

With the Dallas native anchoring a defence bolstered by the signing of Irwin and fullback Steven Beitashour, the emergence of centre back Eriq Zavaleta and another fine season from returning fullback Justin Morrow, Toronto conceded 39 goals in 34 games this season. That's down from 58 in 2015.

Only Colorado, with 32, gave up fewer goals in 2016.

Moor should merit consideration for MLS defender of the year.

"The biggest compliment I can pay to him is that he makes other people around him better," said Irwin. "That's not something that is common in this league."

Listed at six foot and 165 pounds, Moor is compact for a centre back. But he reads the game well, rarely gets caught out and is surprisingly good in the air -- with 25 goals to his credit. …

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