COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The World Cup break couldn’t come at a better time for Edson Buddle or the Colorado Rapids.
The veteran striker strained his groined and will likely be out for the Rapids’ final three matches leading up to the three-week World Cup break, head coach Pablo Mastroeni told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday.
“The mindset is he won’t be available for the run of games until after the break,” Mastroeni said after practice on Thursday. “If he is [ready] before, then we’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
Buddle wasn’t at training on Thursday and hasn’t trained all week since suffering the injury deep into the second half of last Saturday’s 4-1 home victory over the Montreal Impact.
The 33-year-old recently said he felt as healthy this season as he had in recent memory. Buddle, with 99 career MLS goals in 283 matches, is on the doorstep of becoming just the eighth player in league history to score 100 or more career goals. But it looks like that pursuit will be put on hold for at least a little while.
“He’s obviously an integral part of this team and one that we want to be cautious with,” Mastroeni said.
Buddle is expected to be back fully fit after the break in late June. In his place, Deshorn Brown and Danny Mwanga are expected to see minutes, while midfielders Kamani Hill and Dillon Powers could also move into a striker role, Mastroeni said.
Either way, the Rapids head coach expects the goals to keep flowing from his side, who have scored five goals in their last 130 minutes of league action after struggling offensively for most of the season.
“Mwanga can play up there, Kamani’s played up there, Powers can play up there in a withdrawn position,” Mastroeni said of his striker position. “Regardless of who we play up there, everyone’s had a proper go-around and it won’t be anything new. That’s why I’m completely comfortable with whoever’s up there.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.