COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Just one game into the new season, the Colorado Rapids are already a man down.
Left back Chris Klute, one of the Rapids’ pleasant surprises in 2013, will miss multiple weeks of action with a hamstring problem, head coach Pablo Mastroeni said on Tuesday.
“He’s going to be out, I believe, a couple weeks with a hamstring,” Mastroeni told reporters after practice on Tuesday. “So it’s the next man up and ready to rock and to prepare for the next game without him. Klute’s one of those guys who won’t come off the field unless he’s absolutely not able to go. I’m assuming it’s a strain.”
Klute went down clutching his hamstring in the 51st minute of last Saturday's 1-1 draw at New York and was substituted off one minute later. The 24-year-old left back earned big praise last year after stepping in and quickly solidifying himself as the starting left back, eventually earning his first senior US national team call-up in January.
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Veteran Marc Burch, who has made 113 regular-season starts in his MLS career, will likely see the majority of the action in Klute’s place. Acquired from the Seattle Sounders during the offseason, Burch came on for Klute on Saturday, and Mastroeni was happy with what he saw from the 29-year-old.
“Every guy that’s here, whether you’re a rookie or an experienced player, is expected to go out there and do the same job, if not better than, the guy you’re replacing,” Mastroeni said. “I think Marc Burch exemplifies that in going out there on the field and not missing a beat and making a big play down there in the stretch.
"Those are the expectations I have for everyone, whether you’re starting the game or coming in.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.