Commerce City, Colo. - Matt Pickens' streak of 75 consecutive regular season starts is the longest active streak in Major League Soccer, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It's also the longest consecutive games-played streak in Colorado Rapids history. Both of those streaks appear likely to end on October 20 when the Rapids visit Chivas USA.
After playing the full 90 minutes in his previous 74 starts, Pickens strained his left groin on Saturday against San Jose and was replaced in the 69th minute by backup Stew Ceus, who made his MLS debut. That was the first time someone other than Pickens stood in front of goal for the Rapids in an MLS match since Ian Joyce kept a clean sheet against Houston on August 28, 2010.
"That's not important to me right now," Pickens said afterwards about the streak. "It's been good and I've been healthy. I had to come out (Saturday), but to be honest it's good for Stew to get some minutes.”
Pickens said he felt his groin tighten up when taking a goal kick and was replaced minutes later.
Head coach Oscar Pareja has been consistent all season in giving players extra time to recover from various injuries and ailments. With only two matches remaining, Pareja has already made up his mind on Pickens.
"Matt has had a fantastic season, and it is unfortunate that he was injured last week," said Pareja. "I don't want him to push this injury and make it worse, so I don't expect Matt to play in the final two games. Stew and Ian (Joyce) have worked very hard all year and these games will be good opportunities to see them play."
Pickens, who earlier this year became the team's all-time leader in career wins and shutouts, is third in MLS in saves with 107 saves - the most he's made in any season.
“Of course I want to play every game,” Pickens said on Saturday. “But you can only go as your body wants you to."
Teammates Drew Moor and Jeff Larentowicz had previously held the record for most consecutive games for the Rapids with 66. If Pickens doesn’t play against Chivas USA on Oct. 20, Moor will enter the match with the longest active team streak at 32 games.