COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Colorado Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni is eager to get veteran faces on his field, and his wish could be granted as soon as this weekend.
Days after saying his team lacks leadership and he needs more veteran voices to help right the Rapids’ sinking ship, Mastroeni could get both striker Edson Buddle (hamstring) and influential midfielder Vicente Sánchez (knee) back from injury in time for Saturday's clash against the San Jose Earthquakes at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (9 pm ET, MLS LIVE).
“They’re working towards fitness. At this point, [we’ve] got to have able bodies. For me, it’s just got to get to the point where they’re not in and out,” Mastroeni said of the injury-plagued duo on Tuesday. “It’s not good for them [to be in and out of the lineup], it’s hard to establish any type of consistency, so just making sure they get through the week without any kind of setbacks and look forward to having them join the groups.”
As Mastroeni alluded to, Buddle and Sánchez have both shuttled in and out of the lineup all season long, with the 33-year-old Buddle appearing in 17 regular season matches out of 29 and the 34-year-old Sánchez in just 14, with both players hobbled by an assortment of injuries.
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While the most recent news appeared to be promising on both Buddle and Sánchez, the Rapids are still in a holding pattern with acquisition-to-be Zat Knight, who is still in England awaiting final immigration paperwork that would allow him to join the club. The veteran defender is not expected to be available in time for Saturday’s game.
Meanwhile, midfielder Dillon Powers (illness) trained fully on Tuesday and is expected to be available for Saturday, but midfielder/defender Jared Watts (hamstring strain) is still out and will likely not return for at least a few more weeks.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.