Oscar Pareja has key midfield decision to make for Playoff match at Seattle
All year Colorado Rapids coach Oscar Pareja has stressed that it's a 'next man up' mentality when one of his players is unavailable. And ahead of Wednesday's MLS Cup Playoff Knockout match against Seattle, Pareja is debating which player - or players - will get the chance to step up.
Talking to ColoradoRapids.com by phone from Seattle Tuesday before the Rapids workout, Pareja said that rookie Dillon Powers is unlikely to feature Wednesday.
"It doesn't seem like (Dillon) Powers will be available," Pareja said. "His (case) is a little more difficult because he is still going through the MLS concussion protocol."
Powers has been out since suffering a concussion in the last match against Seattle, in which he scored a goal and added an assist in the Rapids 5-1 rout of the Sounders on Oct. 5 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
In the three games that followed - which Powers also missed - Pareja has used both Nick LaBrocca and Martin Rivero in the role behind the forwards and in front of more defensive-minded midfielders Nathan Sturgis and Hendry Thomas.
Pareja said that both LaBrocca and Rivero are being considered for Wednesday, and included the possibility of Vicente Sanchez also being an option.
"(LaBrocca and Rivero) are both distinct players, and so is Vicente," Pareja said. "In that position they are each players that bring different qualities. We're going to continue evaluating that today and looking into Vicente's situation in order to make the appropriate decision for the group."
Sanchez missed Sunday's match at Vancouver with a sprained right shoulder but is with the group in Seattle. Pareja said he's expecting Sanchez to train with the team this afternoon.
"We want to see how Vicente looks this afternoon to know if he's full go for tomorrow," Pareja added.
All three players have contributed goals against the Sounders this year. LaBrocca's corner kick in July at CenturyLink Field was headed in by Drew Moor in the 1-1 tie. Sanchez provided two assists and Rivero added another in the big home win over the Sounders earlier this month.
Wednesday's match will be aired live on Altitude2 with the pregame show starting at 8 p.m. MT. Fans outside of the Altitude TV region will be able to watch the match on the NBC Sports Network.