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Toronto FC's Drew Moor battles for the ball with Philadelphia Union's C.J. Sapong during the first half of MLS soccer playoff action in Toronto, Wednesday October 26, 2016.

Mark Blinch/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Drew Moor's mission when he arrived in Toronto in December 2015 was simple – restore order to a revolving-door defence that had leaked a league-worst 58 goals the previous season.

The veteran centre back had help. GM Tim Bezbatchenko also brought in goalkeeper Clint Irwin, fullback Steven Beitashour and Canadian midfielder Will Johnson during that off-season.

But it was Moor whom Bezbatchenko called "a key piece in the puzzle."

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Then-Colorado president Tim Hinchey called the departing free agent "a great player, great captain and great ambassador."

Nineteen months later, the 33-year-old Moor continues to deliver. The easy-going Texan has been the lynchpin in a stingy back three on the best team in Major League Soccer. League-leading Toronto (12-3-7) is on pace to give up just 34 goals this season.

On Saturday, Moor became just the 10th outfield player in MLS history to play 350 regular-season games. His career is at 30,222 minutes and counting. That's more than 500 hours – or close to 21 weeks spent on the pitch, not counting his 18 playoff games.

For captain Michael Bradley, Moore has done much more than organize on the field.

"He's been important for the group, but he's also been important for me," said the skipper.

Remember, Bradley joined a struggling 6-17-11 team in January 2014 when he and now-departed English star Jermain Defoe came on board. Toronto had been the league doormat for seven seasons, a franchise with a 51-105-66 regular-season record.

"When I first got here, I was the minority in some ways ... When you're the only one saying certain things, then it's easy for others to look around and almost find solace in each other and say 'What's this guy talking about? Why is he so hard on us?" said Bradley.

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"And since Drew has come – and there's a big group of us now – I'm no longer in the minority ... That's how you build a team that stands up in tough moments."

While Bradley can offer both the honey and vinegar approach to man-management, Moor comes with an ever-present smile.

The fire burns on the field – Moor can gesticulate with the best of them when he disagrees with a call – but he seems to have things in perspective.

"He knows when to say things, he knows how to say things," Bradley said. "He's been a real important guy for us."

At six foot and 165 pounds, Moor is not a big defender. But he knows where to be and what to do when he gets there. He can also contribute from set pieces, with 26 goals to his credit.

These days Moor has elite help in a centre-back corps that includes Eriq Zavaleta, Chris Mavinga, Nick Hagglund and Jason Hernandez. Justin Morrow and Steven Beitashour are arguably the best wingback tandem in the league and Alex Bono is a rising talent in goal.

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And Bradley drives the TFC wagon from his defensive midfield position.

Toronto coach Greg Vanney has watched Moor grow as a pro.

Vanney, then in his 10th year as a pro, played alongside a rookie Moor back in 2005 at FC Dallas. He says he knew back then that the Texan had a long career ahead of him.

"He was a smart player even as a rookie," said Vanney, adding Moor plays the game "between his ears."

"He reads the game, he communicates, he organizes. He's a true professional on and off the field. And he takes care of himself. That's how you get to 350 games. You have to be good, because you have to be selected 350 times to get on the field.

"But you have to stay healthy and you have to be reliable and you have to be all the things that are expected of a centre back. And Drew is every bit of that."

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While Moor missed time this season with a heart irregularity (subsequently fixed), he has been durable.

In 2011, he set a league record among field players by playing the full 90 minutes in 69 consecutive regular-season matches. A year later, he became the only field player in the league to play every minute of the regular season.

When Moor went down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and lateral meniscus in August 2014, the Colorado captain had missed just five MLS games since joining the Rapids in 2009.

"You learn as you go how to take care of yourself." said Moor, whose salary this season is listed at US$261,750 by the MLS Players Union.

"You watch the older guys who have been in the league for a while. I had some very good examples, Greg Vanney being one of them. Just how to be a good professional, how to take care of yourself off the field ... It's a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week job."

While Moor's resume grows each week, his ego doesn't.

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"Soccer's given me so much and the teams I played for have given me so much, so I want to give back to it as much as I can and try to help my team as much as possible," said Moor, honoured Saturday as TFC's community player of the month. "If that's on the field, great. If it's on the bench, great, if it's in the locker-room, great.

"Any way we can get three points."

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