Thursday, June 5, 2008

Mastroeni Plays Against Spain as US Downed 1-0

Colorado Rapids' captain, Pablo Mastroeni, got onto the field for about five minutes yesterday in the US game against Spain in Santander. I'm glad he did because it could have felt like an even longer flight over to Europe if he had stayed completely on the bench. Mastroeni, who has been strong for the Rapids in recent games, played a full 90 against Dallas last week before flying to Spain on Monday. I hope he gets some playing time against his native country Argentina in the big game in New York on Sunday. I am presuming he will be involved in that rather than turning out for the Rapids on Saturday. The Rapids' website has him down as likely to start against LA but my understanding is that he is in the national team squad against the Argentines. This is very positive for him because there were times last year when his national career looked all but over. He is now back to fitness, as strong as an ox, and playing very well. Spain warmed up for Euro 2008 with a 1-0 victory on a fine individual goal from Barcelona's Xavi in the 78th minute.
Coaches often keep things close to their chest but, if Fernando Clavijo's recent words are anything to go by, he now seems settled on his strike partnership. Barring fitness and loss of form, as always, Conor Casey and Tom McManus are now the favored duo up top. It's hard to argue with that. McManus is becoming a fan favorite because of his hustle and his entertainment value. Conor Casey is back and playing strongly. Omar Cummings will still have an important role to play, as will Herculez Gomez, though Gomez is a more versatile player than Cummings and could get chances elsewhere.
The Rapids move on to play LA Galaxy in California Saturday having just come off a defeat on penalties against Kansas City in the US Open Cup. I plan to be at training tomorrow so do please let me know if there are any burning issues you would like discussed.

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