Calculated risk? Colorado Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni defends squad rotation following dour draw

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Colorado Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni had to know what questions were coming his way after he chose to sit eight starters from Sunday’s win during Wednesday’s game.

Whether he did or not, it certainly didn’t stop the first-year coach from defending his decision in rather animated fashion in the tunnels of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park following a 0-0 draw to the Chicago Fire.

“It’s a calculated risk to everyone else. It’s not a calculated risk to me,” Mastroeni said, referring to a putting together Wednesday’s starting lineup, one that didn’t feature any of the Rapids’ top seven goal scorers. “You guys think it’s a calculated risk. There’s nothing calculated risk about it to me. I believe we are going to get three points every time I step on the field.”

That didn’t happen Wednesday. Instead, it was a snoozer of an offensive performance for the Rapids and Fire.

Visitors Chicago, for one, were practically nonexistent on the offensive end all night, totaling just a few real scoring chances while Colorado were a little better.

But it didn’t matter. The Rapids, who scored a combined seven goals in back-to-back wins prior to Wednesday, had nowhere near the same punch this time around.

Mastreoni even plugged in Deshorn Brown, Dillon Powers and Dillon Serna midway through the second half for a spark, but it may have been too little too late as the result stayed the same.

“At the end of the day, I think the second half was a good performance,” said Shane O’Neill, one of the few players who started both Sunday and Wednesday. “We just didn’t find the back of the net.”

Before that, Charles Eloundou, starting in place of Powers, was in the middle of scoring chances in 14th and 37th minute the first half, but nothing hit twine. And later, in the 41st minute, Danny Mwanga was the beneficiary of precise tic-tac-toe passing from Eloundou and Marlon Hairston in the box, but the 22-year-old striker lifted his shot well over the net.

Frustrating to watch? Yup.

By the end, however, Mastreoni wasn’t angry at the outcome and he stood pat in his decision to rest players and give others opportunities.

It’s about looking at the bigger picture, he said.

“From the layman’s perspective it looks like a calculated risk. You’re playing a bunch of young guys, inexperienced players – [but] from my, from my chair it looks completely different,” Mastroeni said. “… It’s not what you think it is. It’s much more involved, it’s much more well-thought out. We don’t play to win one game we play to be a great team throughout the season.”