COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — It’s a good thing that Paul Bravo is the Colorado Rapids' technical director and Marcelo Balboa does color commentary for their television broadcasts. At this rate, the Rapids will need to use the retired MLS standouts to fill out an 18-man roster.
Two more key injuries struck Colorado in their 1-0 loss to Seattle on Saturday afternoon, leaving head coach Oscar Pareja unable to do much besides shake his head postgame.
“Seriously, it’s unbelievable,” Pareja said of the injury situation after the loss. “I had to check if I had seen it before. I have not. Not that I can remember.”
Striker Edson Buddle was scratched just before game time with right knee pain, the same injury that forced him to miss the first four games of this season. Then, during the game, center back Marvell Wynne went down in the second half with a right quad strain, an injury that could leave the speedy defender out for several weeks. Both players were unavailable for comment postgame.
Those injuries are just the icing on the cake for a team that has been brutally decimated by injuries all season long.
Midfielders Martín Rivero and Jaime Castrillón, last year’s leading assist man and goalscorer, respectively, are out with long-term injuries. Colorado captain Pablo Mastroeni (quad), starting goalkeeper Matt Pickens (broken forearm), center back Diego Calderón (knee), rookie sensation Deshorn Brown (quad) and newcomer Kevin Harbottle (knee) – all key players likely to feature in Colorado’s starting 11 – are out injured as well.
And rookie midfielder Dillon Powers played on Saturday despite receiving four stitches to his face after suffering a gash in training this week, and veteran right back Brian Mullan didn’t practice for part of the week as well.
Aside from that, however, the Rapids are perfectly healthy.
“I haven’t seen this many missing people with injuries,” said Pareja, who has been in MLS as a coach and a player since 1998. “And then after the warmups, somebody comes up to say we lost another player, and then we have to adjust. Let’s say that it doesn’t happen often.”
Despite the slew of injuries, however, the second-year head coach is urging himself and his team not to dwell on the situation.
“I don’t make excuses,” Pareja said. “We have to push through.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.