All this week we will be counting down the top five 'Mastroeni Moments' – all from Pablo’s playing career with the Rapids – as voted by you, the fans. Coming in at #3 is the goal which set the ball rolling in the 2010 playoffs.
After a bizarre series of events at the end of the 2010 season (culminating in a painful 2-2 home draw with Real Salt Lake), the Rapids dropped into the fifth spot in the Western Conference, qualifying for the playoffs by virtue of having the seventh best record in MLS. As a result, the team would face the Columbus Crew, the Eastern Conference’s second-best team, in the opening round of the playoffs.
The first leg of the series would be played at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, and it was Mastroeni who made the difference in the match. In the 23rd minute, he picked off a Crew pass at the midfield spot, passed the ball to Brian Mullan, and began sprinting toward the Columbus net. Mullan passed to Omar Cummings, Cummings crossed it for Casey, and somehow the ball trickled past Casey and several Crew defenders.
There at the back post was Mastroeni, finishing his all-out 60-yard sprint with a sliding finish to put the Rapids up 1-0. It was the only goal of the match.
One week later, in the second leg, Columbus won 2-1, and forced the series to penalties to settle the tie. The Rapids prevailed, and continued their march through the MLS Cup Playoffs.