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With captain Pablo Mastroeni out, Colorado Rapids rely on newcomers to fill the void

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With captain Pablo Mastroeni out, Colorado Rapids rely on newcomers to fill the void
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With captain Pablo Mastroeni out, Colorado Rapids rely on newcomers to fill the void

Colorado Rapids captain Pablo Mastroeni faces an uncertain future after suffering concussion-related symptoms stemming from a clash of heads in the season opener against Columbus.

With Mastroeni out indefinitely, the Rapids have to rely upon some new faces to help fill the void.

“We would definitely be in a lot trouble if we didn’t have the young talent,” said veteran midfielder Brian Mullan. "It’s hard to replace a guy like Pablo, and I don’t know if you can do it with his leadership and his work grade on the field. You come as close as you can."

Two of the new additions proved invaluable Sunday night as the Rapids defeated Chicago Fire 2-0, with Martin Rivero serving a playmaking role, and Kamani Hill scoring the final goal off the bench.

“We know how important Pablo is to this team and to this club,” Rivero said. “I take a lot of responsibility. I don’t try to think of that as far as putting pressure on myself, but I continue to keep doing what I think I do well, and continue to help the team.”

As the Rapids adjust to a new 4-3-3 formation, a new coach, and now an injured captain, the 2010 MLS champions know they will have to rely on some new faces.

“It’s very important to have the new players that we do,” Drew Moor said. “You have to have guys that can step in, and not be Pablo and try to play his game, but try to step in and play their role and play well, keep the team upbeat and keep the team playing their game.

"Tony (Cascio) has been fantastic this year, and obviously Martin (Rivero) stepped in today, had a fantastic game as well. We didn’t see much of Kamani (Hill), but he’s been great in training and scored a goal today. It’s very important."

As the team continues to hope that Mastroeni can recover from his head injury, the midfielders in his place will try to follow the example he set. 

“It’s good, because they are playmakers,” goalkeeper Matt Pickens said of new midfield additions like Rivero, Cascio, and Jaime Castrillon.

“That’s what Pablo is. Just as much as Pablo is defensively, he is offensively as well. Keeping the rhythm of the game going, that’s what Pablo can do. Getting some of these guys coming in here that play like Pablo is great,” Pickens concluded.

Tim Gardner contributed additional reporting to this article

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