Colorado will play its first game since trading the midfielder while seeking its first road victory over the Chicago Fire in nearly nine years Wednesday night.
Mastroeni was a nine-time All-Star and helped the franchise win its only title, but with depth at the position, the Rapids decided to trade the 36-year-old to Los Angeles for a draft pick and an international roster spot Monday.
He holds the franchise record for games played and was named team MVP three times.
“While it is sad to see Pablo leave the Rapids, we are grateful for everything he gave to the club and our fans,” team president Tim Hinchey said in a statement. “For all his achievements, including leading the team to the 2010 MLS Cup, he is and forever will be a Colorado Rapids legend. We look forward to seeing his name and number in our Gallery of Honor someday soon.”
The current Rapids (5-5-5) will be looking to bounce back after having their five-game unbeaten streak snapped with a 2-1 loss to San Jose on Sunday. Nathan Sturgis scored in the 67th minute, but Colorado allowed goals in the 11th and 52nd minutes.
“You can’t wait 20 minutes into a game, and you can’t allow a goal to get yourself going. You have to from the start,” defender Drew Moor told the team’s official website. “It’s a long season. It’s not going to happen every game, it’s not going to come naturally every game, but you have to dig deep and you have to find a way to start better.”
The Rapids have gone 0-5-2 on the road against Chicago since a 3-0 win Aug. 14, 2004. They’ll look to put an end to that skid against a Fire team that’s unbeaten in its last three MLS games.
Mike Magee scored in the 68th minute and Daniel Paladini netted a goal in the 82nd as Chicago (3-7-3) salvaged a 2-all tie with Portland on June 8. It then beat Columbus 2-1 in a U.S. Open Cup game Thursday.
“We’ve been on an OK run - we haven’t lost a game in a while and so keeping guys fresh is going to be important,” forward Patrick Nyarko told the team’s official website.
The Fire, though, are 14 points behind first-place Montreal in the Eastern Conference. They’re 3-1-1 in their last five at home and will play three of the next four league games there.
“We have a lot of home games in this middle part of the season and we need to pick up the maximum where we can,” Nyarko said. “It’s the time in the season where you can’t lose points. It’s crunch time. Games keep coming and if you can pick up points you’re pretty much in good shape.”
Colorado will be without coach Oscar Pareja and defender Hendry Thomas after they were suspended one game by MLS for their actions against San Jose.
Pareja is banned because he left his area and entered the field of play, and Thomas will sit out due to a reckless play on Earthquakes defender Steven Beitashour.
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