An Aged Legend Moves On

Pablo Mastroeni wasn’t ready to cash in his career, but he has moved on to see what the future holds
by Greg Moss   |   Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mile High Club – column on Colorado Rapids & the Denver area and Colorado soccer scenes.

“There’s heroes, and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”

Wise words spoken by Babe Ruth in the “Sandlot”, and they ring true. The winds have changed in Colorado, bringing the new and parting ways with the old. Times that have made an impression in the minds of most are never forgotten, but are simply written in the books of history. Legends pass, but will always withstand the tests of time.

Many will remember the works of Pablo Mastroeni. Folks were under the impression that the long time Rapid captain would be here until the end. But it seems that he will only remain a Rapid in memory.

The Rapids this last week have decided to part ways with the former burgundy leader sending him to Los Angeles to play for the LA Galaxy for what appears to be for the remainder of his career. It is with no doubt that he will retire a Rapid and join 4 other legends on the Rapids gallery of honor along side Marcello Balboa, Chris Henderson, Paul Bravo and John Spencer.

His is a career that will forever be remembered as the one that brought Colorado its first MLS Cup. Mastroeni played with the Rapids from 2002 to 2013 as a defensive midfielder and not only was one of the best to play the position, he was arguably one of the best field generals in the MLS.

Mastroeni watched the growth of MLS popularity in Colorado as he evolved with the club when they built a new stadium and watched coaches and players come and go. The 36-year-old gave himself to this club and the town for 11 seasons, leading the team both on and off the field.

With the arrival of the current manager Oscar Pareja, the identity of the team was altered to that of youth full of speed and vigor. It ultimately pushed Mastroeni to the sideline.

Missing all of 2012 with a concussion, he watched the team around him grow younger and build cohesion with one another. The veteran tried to fit into the new style that the Rapids had instilled, but was benched after several other minor injuries. It seemed that there was no room for a player with “old” ideals that belonged to “old” systems leaving him abandoned to the ride the pine.

The team moved on with different formations with different players, and Mastroeni, not wanting to cash in just yet, asked for a trade. The Rapids obliged, sending him to the Galaxy for an international spot and a 2nd round draft pick.

Arguments throughout the fanhood ensued about his stubbornness to join the new system that was being played on the field, or that he couldn’t keep up with the speed at which the Rapids were playing.

Some arguments true, and some not, it ultimately came down to direction. The Rapids had gone with players who had been playing with one another for most of last season and practiced together in the offseason, and there was no place for the veteran as Hendry Thomas and Nathan Sturgis had taken his place.

Mastroeni will forever be both a hero and a legend to most in Colorado as he moves on to see what he has left in a system that he may fit into more successfully.

NEXT UP: June 23 – Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers, JELD-WEN Field, Portland, Ore. 7 p.m. EST, NBC Sports Network.

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Concordia College
Club Domestic:
Colorado Rapids
Club Foreign:
Producer of "From the Pitch" with Marcelo Balboa and a personal Rapids podcast. All personality with a face for radio and profile pictures. Born a midwesterner, thankfully transformed into a Rocky Mtn dweller. Covering Colorado Rapids with words and voice