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 This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Socer or its clubs.