Standout performance by Colorado Rapids' Clint Irwin gives him edge in GK battle – for now
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Colorado Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni has a good problem on his hands, but it’s not one that he necessarily wants to talk about.
The latter got off to a hot start after Irwin was forced to miss the start of the season due to a quad strain. But after Irwin’s standout performance in his season debut at Vancouver this past Saturday, Mastroeni said he’s probably going to stick with him for Saturday’s trip to Toronto FC (4 pm ET, TSN/RDS2 in Canada, MLS LIVE in US).
“Clint played really well at the weekend and we’ll probably go with Clint [on Saturday],” Mastroeni told reporters after Tuesday morning's training session.
The Rapids' rookie head coach didn’t want to dig further into the potential battle between the posts, electing to essentially label it a week-by-week contest – at least for now.
“Do we know that we’re going to be here tomorrow? Plan day-to-day, game-to-game,” Mastroeni said when asked how he’d settle the competition between Irwin and Berner. “I think [Irwin] had a good game on the weekend, and we’ll probably play him.”
While Mastroeni appears to be keeping his cards close to his vest on the goalkeeper battle, he acknowledged Irwin’s “great” six-save performance in a 2-1 win over the Whitecaps. Most likely, the job will be Irwin’s to keep for the foreseeable future, barring injury or a run of poor play.
Colorado parted ways with veteran 'keeper Matt Pickens during the offseason and handed Irwin a contract extension last month, a strong sign that the club is investing in the 25-year-old as their goalkeeper of the future.
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Irwin, meanwhile, said on Tuesday that he approaches each game the same way, regardless of whether he’s battling for a starting spot on a weekly basis.
“I think in this game things change so quickly,” he told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday afternoon. “You have to approach it as this could be your last time in goal, and you have to have that mentality, that sort of do-or-die mentality.
"And I think whether someone says you’re the week-to-week starter or not, you have to not let yourself be comfortable.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.