More offensive options: Oscar Pareja says Martin Rivero is ready to go

After a number of injury setbacks, midfield general could return to action Sunday vs Chivas USA

Martin Rivero

Photo Credit: 
Garrett Ellwood / Colorado Rapids

In the space of a week Colorado Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja has found himself with offensive options that he's not had since taking charge of the team last year.

A few days after last year's leading scorer - Jaime Castrillon - showed signed he's recovered from offseason knee surgery when he scored his first goal of the season (WATCH), the team signed veteran forward Vicente Sanchez and up-and-coming forward Gabriel Torres.

To top it off, Pareja confirmed this week that midfield general, Martin Rivero, is also back from injury and available for selection.

"He's ready to go," Pareja told the media this week of the 23-year-old Argentine.

Rivero's sophomore year in MLS has been filled with one frustrating injury after another. He broke his right foot during preseason, which kept him off the field for the first eight games. He returned on April 28 and played five matches before re-injuring the same foot. After sitting out one match, he played two more before suffering a quad injury on June 19 at Chicago that has kept him off the field since.

"It's been a very frustrating first six months, and depressing," Rivero told ColoradoRapids.com on Thursday. "But I have a lot of desire to continue improving and continue working for the good of the team, and my well-being, and to not get down on things. So now the rehab over. I've recovered again and am ready to give my all like I've always done."

As for where Rivero fits into the current system, and with the personnel now available, Pareja says his decision will be based on the matchup.

"Martin's normal position is underneath the forward," Pareja said. "The role that Nick (LaBrocca) had in the past games, coming from the side and coming in has been great for us, and I think that works well for Martin, too.

"But Martin is more of a midfielder than a forward, so it depends on the approach of the game that I have - having more control in the middle or having more urgency going forward."

Rivero played from the right side for most of the second half of 2012. If he moves back behind the lone forward, it's possible that he and rookie Dillon Powers could line up together.

"Oh yes, there's always room for them," Pareja said. "For good players, we always find room."

Pareja said that he held Rivero out of the last Reserve League game to not risk him, but that he will travel to California for Sunday's match against Chivas USA (9 p.m. MT, Altitude TV).