Argentinians who have played for the Rapids

Six players born in Argentina have worn the Rapids colors

Rapids player that were born in Argentina

Photo Credit: 
ColoradoRapids.com

Commerce City, Colo. - With today's announcement that Buenos Aires-native Martin Rivero has signed with the Colorado Rapids, we take a look at the previous players born in Argentina who have played for the Rapids.

NOTE: No player born in Argentina played for the Rapids during the first six years of existence, and only six have played for the club in the past 10 seasons. 

PABLO MASTROENI (2002-present) - Mendoza, Argentina

The Rapids selected Mastroeni in the 2002 allocation draft from the Miami Fusion on January 11, 2002 after the League contracted the Miami and Tampa franchises. Mastroeni had moved to the United States with his family when he was four years old, so he developed his soccer skills through the traditional U.S. platforms of club soccer, high school soccer, and eventually as a standout at North Carolina State. Mastroeni was an instrumental member of the U.S. Men's National Team at both the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups.

On the club side, the midfielder looks to continue to add to his numerous club records with the Rapids, which include most games played, started, and minutes, as well as being named to a team record seven MLS All-Star teams. FULL BIO & STATS

CLAUDIO LOPEZ (2010)- Rio Tercero, Argentina

Colorado announced the signing of two-time Argentina World Cup veteran and former MLS Designated Player Claudio 'El Piojo' Lopez on April 2, 2010. While he didn't start any of the 11 regular season games in which he appeared, his biggest contribution in a match came in the second-leg of the 2010 MLS Cup Conference Semifinal series. With the Rapids behind in the series by a 2-1 aggregate score, Lopez replaced defender Kosuke Kimura with only eight minutes left. Two minutes later, Conor Casey scored to even the series and send it into overtime.

After 30 minutes without a goal, the series was to be decided on penalty kicks. Lopez, who had not scored a goal since his days with Kansas City the previous year, was picked to kick fourth and put his goal away. Colombus would go on to miss their final attempt and the Rapids had clinched a place in the Conference Final. Little did anyone know at the time that it would be Lopez's last touch of a ball in his last game ever, as he retired following the season after his contract was not picked up.

YEAR  SEASON   GP  GS   MIN    G   A SHT SOG  FC  FS OFF  CK  C  E
2010  REGULAR  11   0   200    0   0   8   4   0   1   0  14  0  0
2010  PLAYOFFS  1   0    38    0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0  0  0

FACUNDO DIZ (2009) - Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Rapids signed the former Club Atlético Platense forward Diz on July 24, 2009. With only two months left in the season, Rapids fans didn't get to see much of him. He only appeared in nine matches, all off the bench, and only twice played more than 20 minutes. He was released during the 2010 preseason.

YEAR  SEASON   GP  GS   MIN    G   A SHT SOG  FC  FS OFF  CK  C  E
2009  REGULAR   8   0    97    0   0   1   1   1   2   1   0  0  0

CHRISTIAN GOMEZ (2008) - Buenos Aires, Argentina

February 8, 2008 was the day the Rapids announced the acquisition of 2006 MLS MVP, and three-time MLS Best XI and All-Star Christian Gomez. In order to sign the midfielder, Colorado had to complete a trade with D.C. United for his rights, sending their first round pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft and future considerations. It turned out to be a one-year 'loan.'

Gomez scored three goals with Colorado and was even named an MLS All-Star. However he didn't fit into the system that new coach Gary Smith wanted to play once he was appointed halfway through the season. Gomez was traded back to D.C. on February 9, 2009 along with goalkeeper Mike Graczyk and an international slot in exchange for Honduran defender Ivan Guerrero, United's 2010 second round SuperDraft pick, and the 'future considerations' portion of the initial trade.

YEAR  SEASON   GP  GS   MIN    G   A SHT SOG  FC  FS OFF  CK  C  E
2008  REGULAR  20  17  1423    3   6  36  18  15  30   7  35  2  0

FACUNDO ERPEN (2007-2008) - Gualeguaychu, Argentina

The Rapids acquired Erpen on June 29, 2007 in a trade with D.C. United in exchange for defender Greg Vanney - the day after DC defeated the Rapids 4-1 in Washington, with both Vanney and Erpen having played the full 90 minutes. The former Talleres de Cordoba defender had been an MLS All-Star with United the previous year and appeared in 40 matched with DC. He was slotted right into the Rapids lineup and started 35 0f the 38 games with Colorado until his release following the 2008 season. He is the last South American born player - other than Mastroeni - to start a regular season or playoff match for the Rapids. That start was on August 29, 2008.

YEAR  SEASON   GP  GS   MIN    G   A SHT SOG  FC  FS OFF  CK  C  E
2007  REGULAR  15  14  1175    1   0   6   2  23  14   0   0  3  1
2008  REGULAR  23  21  1854    1   1  18   4  21  16   0   0  2  1

NICOLAS HERNANDEZ (2006-2007) - Buenos Aires, Argentina

Colorado signed Hernandez - who had played in Argentina, Italy, and most recently with Chilean club Cobreloa - on March 26, 2006. He would on to start in 46 of the 51 regular season games in which he appeared in his two seasons, scoring eight goals. His lasting memory among many Rapids fans was his two goals in the 2006 playoffs. Playing in Dallas and down 3-1 on aggregate, Hernandez scored twice in the final 33 minutes to even the series. With each team trading goals in overtime, Colorado would defeat Dallas 5-4 on penalty kicks in their home stadium, with 'Nico' also scoring a penalty kick.

YEAR  SEASON   GP  GS   MIN    G   A SHT SOG  FC  FS OFF  CK  C  E
2006  REGULAR  30  29  2524    7   6  37  18  43  57  29  33  3  0
2007  REGULAR  21  17  1474    1   1  29   7  28  19   7   2  0  0
2006  PLAYOFFS  3   3   300    2   0  10   6   8   8   4   3  0  0