Breaking Down Defense: Pause, Anibaba, Chimbonda make right back spot interesting

Is this the Fire back line come March 3 at LA Galaxy?

Last week I looked at the club’s situation with goalkeepers heading into 2013. Today, I look at the team’s possibilities in defense.

Right Back - This position became much more interesting when the team acquired midfielders Joel Lindpere and Jeff Larentowicz over the offseason, pushing captain Logan Pause into the backline.

Pause, has filled in at right back throughout his Fire career, giving him a good background in earning most of the first team minutes at the position this preseason. Still, with it being his second position, would-be incumbent Jalil Anibaba (but more natural center back) continues to challenge there.

Beyond that, the Fire have the options of playing Steven Kinney (who saw most of his time in 2010 come at right back) and Michael Videira (who has played there previously) as potential cover at the spot.

Trialing defender Pascal Chimbonda (right) played there in the team’s 4-2 Reserve win on Sunday but more will need to be seen from him to make a fair assessment according to Frank Klopas.

"We do have depth on the right side. [Pascal] is an experienced guy who played at a high level for many years but also now we're looking at his ability to still cover space and to play in a way where it makes sense in this league.

"We'll look at this camp and see how he comes along and see if we feel like he's someone that can come in and add something to our group."

Center BackArne Friedrich and Austin Berry return one of the best center back tandems in MLS to the Fire defensive corps. The voice on the back line, Friedrich continues to organize and read the attack well, while it will be interesting to see how Berry follows up his 2012 Rookie of the Year campaign.

Again, both Anibaba and Kinney provide good cover here at their more natural positions, while Videira and Hunter Jumper have been utilized in the middle in reserve action.

Like Chimbonda at right back, trialing Brazilian defender Leo Lelis is another potential option there if the Fire are looking for another natural center back.

Left Back – Like he has been during most of his nine-year tenure with the Fire, Costa Rican defender Gonzalo Segares remains one of the best left backs in MLS and will be first-choice there as long as he’s available.

Returning for his second-year, Hunter Jumper deputized behind Segares in the first half of 2012 but when Segares came out of Saturday night’s 3-2 win over Houston with an ankle sprain, Fire head coach Frank Klopas shifted Logan Pause out on left, signaling a willingness to see the team’s captain there as well.