It happened again.
Two more Colorado Rapids went down with injuries in the team's 1-0 loss at the LA Galaxy on Saturday, forcing head coach Oscar Pareja to once again have to unexpectedly dip into his bench in the first half and use up valuable substitutions.
For the second time in three games, Rapids captain Pablo Mastroeni left the game before the half-hour mark due to a left quad pull, and defender Diego Calderón suffered a right thigh contusion in the 38th minute after an acrobatic goal line save (above).
“It is certainly difficult,” Pareja said of the string of injuries after Saturday night's game. “But, no excuses.”
Four games into the season, injuries to five Rapids starters have left the team alarmingly thin. Goalkeeper Matt Pickens broke his arm in last week’s 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake, striker Edson Buddle is still out with fluid buildup in his right knee, Mastroeni missed last week’s game with a hamstring pull, and midfielders Martín Rivero and Jaime Castrillón are still both out with long-term injuries suffered before the season.
And now, Calderón can be added to the laundry list of walking wounded.
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After the Ecuadorian center back and holding midfielder Mastroeni were forced to come off, right back Marvell Wynne had to shift to center back and substitute Chris Klute came in at left back, requiring a scramble of unexpected in-game changes.
“It’s difficult when you have to move the team all over the place very early in the game,” Pareja said. “Losing Pablo again that early is a challenge, and with Diego as well. It is difficult. But no excuses, and that’s why we’re here."
To top things off, center back Drew Moor’s 48th-minute red card will force Pareja to find yet another replacement for this Saturday’s game against the Portland Timbers.
“All the players know, we have to deal with adversity and challenges that the game gives you and try to make things happen,” Pareja said. “I thought the players tried to adjust to that adversity [against the Galaxy].”