COMMERCE CITY, Colo.- In the midst of the worst slump in two years and facing a particularly thin thin back line corps, the last thing the Colorado Rapids need are more injuries.
But head coach Pablo Mastroeni told reporters Tuesday that midfielder-turned-center back Jared Watts will likely miss a few weeks of action with a Grade I hamstring strain suffered in last Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to the LA Galaxy.
Watts, 22, slotted into centerback duty after both Shane O’Neill (knee) and Drew Moor (knee) went down with knee injuries. A rookie out of Wake Forest, he’s appeared in 15 regular season games this season, mostly as a holding midfielder, recording an assist in 11 starts.
In the meantime the club may be forced to play rookie Grant Van De Casteele, who made his debut in emergency fashion last week when Watts went down with the injury, or turn to veteran outside backs Marc Burch or Thomas Piermayr to move inside to help compensate for the losses.
Midfielders Jose Mari (ankle) and Vicente Sanchez (thigh), meanwhile, both missed Tuesday’s training session as well. Jose Mari appears likely to make the trip to Seattle for Saturday’s key tilt at CenturyLink Field, but the 34-year-old Sanchez may not be able to go for the match on turf.
“We just want to make sure [Vicente] heals at 100 percent before we expose him to anymore rigors of the season,” Mastroeni said. “It’s not ideal [for him to play on Seattle’s turf].”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.