Colorado Rapids entrust 23-year-old Dillon Powers with captain's armband with future in mind

Dillon Powers and Deshorn Brown

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USA TODAY Sports

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – When Colorado Rapids midfielder Dillon Powers put on the captain’s armband for the first time for his team's match vs. the LA Galaxy on August 20, the 23-year-old became the youngest player in club history to captain his side, and he did so again on Saturday in a 1-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders.

Despite veteran names such as Edson Buddle, Nick LaBrocca, Marvell Wynne and Vicente Sanchez on the roster, Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni decided to give the reigning MLS Rookie of the Year the first chance in regular captain Drew Moor’s absence (season-ending ACL tear).

On Tuesday Mastroeni explained why he went with Powers.

“I think it’s just good for his development as a young player and as a guy who’s going to potentially lead this team in the future,” Mastroeni said on Tuesday, adding that he sees Powers staying as captain for the foreseeable future. “It’s a good experience for him, and he’s got some guys like Edson and Vicente and guys with a bit of experience to kind of shepherd him. I think he’s done a really good job.”

On the stat sheet, there’s little doubt about Powers’ importance to the Rapids. The Plano, Texas native has eight assists so far this season (tied for ninth in MLS), more than double the Rapids’ second-highest assist man (Deshorn Brown with three). While still at times shifting roles within the Rapids’ midfield, Powers has found a way to stay consistently productive all season long.

For Powers, who captained his Notre Dame side for both his junior and senior seasons, being a captain is not exactly new. But he does plan on tweaking one thing in this role as a professional.

“I think [the captaincy] has asked me to be more vocal, naturally,” Powers told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “A lot of times, when I’m not in that role, I tend to think more inside of myself. But when I’m wearing the armband, I feel much more of an obligation to be vocal and communicative to my teammates. I think that’s part of the responsibility of leading the team.”

Like his fellow Texan Moor, Powers prefers to lead by example rather than through words – unlike his head coach. As he often says about himself, Mastroeni, the Rapids’ captain for nearly a decade, has the “gift of gab” and isn’t exactly afraid to be vocal and express his emotions.

Powers, meanwhile, is more of the quiet type. And while rah-rah speeches may not be coming from his corner of the locker room anytime soon, he hopes his play and preparation will impact the free-falling Rapids – losers of six straight – in a positive way.

“I think you have to be self-assured,” Powers said of what he feels constitutes a good captain. “You can’t be too stubborn in your opinions. You have to feel the vibe of the team and make sure there’s good communication throughout the team, and also take a lot of accountability.”

Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.