COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- Pablo Mastroeni won’t be tuning into Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions’ League final between Real Salt Lake and Monterrey. It’s not just that he plays for RSL rival Colorado Rapids, but he’s had enough of watching soccer games on television lately.
The Rapids’ club captain was left at home to stew over his team’s 1-0 defeat a week ago at the hands of RSL because of a persistent injury that also kept him out of the game against FC Dallas a few days before. He watched his teammates lose agonizingly in the closing seconds to a disputed goal from RSL's Fabian Espindola.
“I can’t watch any more soccer games,” he said at Rapids training Thursday. “I’m a terrible fan. You have so much passion for it and, when you are on the field, you can usually get some release for that anger and energy. Unfortunately, in the living room, that’s hard to do.”
The veteran, who recently signed an extension to his contract that guarantees another couple of years at Colorado, may not be an RSL fan, but he does have a grudging respect for his Rocky Mountain rivals.
“They seem to have a really good understanding of what they want to do going into every game and are one of those teams that do play at a good level every game,” he said.
His former teammate, RSL captain Kyle Beckerman, stoked some of the burning rivalry between the two clubs when he suggested last week before the Rocky Mountain Cup matchup that the Rapids were not yet among the league’s elite.
Mastroeni puts the Rapids among the better teams in the MLS.
“There are obviously quite a few teams in this league that are very good ones, and I’d put us up there as well,” Mastroeni said. “Every team has its cynics, and you have to keep proving to yourself and your teammates, not necessarily to the other guys, that you can keep performing at a high level.”
Mastroeni, who turns 35 in August, is hoping to get an opportunity to prove himself Friday when the Seattle Sounders visit Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (9 pm ET, Fox Soccer). He worked out fully on an 11-v-11 game in training Thursday without too many obvious side effects.
What started off as a calf injury became an Achilles problem , then an ankle issue and finally a hip injury. But he is hopeful he will be able to start Friday.
“It’s a bit like having a preseason body and I am trying to rush it back, but I should be OK,” he said.