Still, after Rapids ownership dismissed Mastroeni last Tuesday, Howard told Sports Illustrated in a piece published Friday he felt a responsibility to speak for the team about the exit of one of its icons.
“The important message here is how thankful we are to have had Pablo’s service for a decade-and-a-half,” Howard told SI. “Pablo is the Colorado Rapids. It probably made the decision even more difficult.”
The Rapids entered Week 24 in 10th in the Western Conference after finishing second a season ago. After a 1-0 loss to D.C. United Saturday that turned on a calamitous own goal, Colorado are now winless in their last six matches.
Despite those struggles, Howard insisted the dressing room had remained 100 percent behind Mastroeni, who had coached Colorado since 2014 after spending more than a decade there as a player.
"We’ve got a great locker room that—I can attest to this—was behind Pablo and enjoyed playing for him,” Howard told SI. “But when you don’t get results—I’m not telling you anything you don’t know—changes have to be made, and we haven’t been very good this year. Pablo hasn’t kicked one ball this year. That comes down to all us players not carrying our own weight. But that’s the business of sports. That’s what we signed up for.”