Healthy Mastroeni focused on Cup

Pablo Mastroeni, recently recovered from a quadriceps injury that saw him
in the sidelined for several games, has retaken the field for the Colorado
Rapids in a familiar position. After beginning the season in the center
of defense, Mastroeni has moved back to his familiar role as a defensive
central midfielder.

"Every game I'm feeling more comfortable both in fitness and in form," said
Mastroeni following Friday's 3-1 win against Kansas City. "The game of soccer is a funny thing; the more often you're in
games playing for 90 minutes the better you feel. I feel great right
now ... and when everyone is so positive it makes my job, my fitness, my
form a lot easier."

Mastroeni, who broke into the league in 1998 with the now-defunct Miami
Fusion, is as focused as ever on bringing a championship to Denver.

"I think the majority of the guys in the locker room have played for a few
years and everyone is starting to realize that as you get older were not
going to have as many chances," Mastroeni asserted. "I'm now 28, and it becomes more about seize the moment, seize the day
and that's were playing for."

Although he was a star on the successful 2002 United States World Cup
team, Mastroeni has not seen any action in the latest round of World Cup
qualifying due to his injury. And he maintains that competing for the
defensive midfielder position against the likes of Chicago's Chris Armas
and Kansas City's Kerry Zavagnin is not something he's currently worried
about.

"To be completely honest it's not even in my mind right now," said
Mastroeni. "I'm very happy for [the national team] and the results
they've gotten as it's very hard to play on the road, but honestly I've
just been totally on my own trying to get back into fitness and back into
form. If I get back to where I need to be, I think I'll definitely get
another opportunity."

On a roll and fully recovered, Mastroeni is hoping to lead the Rapids far
into the playoffs.

"I couldn't be more impressed with the group of guys that I'm sharing the
locker room with," said Mastroeni. "Everyone is completely selfless. Our
goal this year is to get to that final game and see what happens."

Geoffrey Urland is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Socer or its clubs.


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