One of the breakout stars of the 2013 season for the Rapids was left back Chris Klute, but the start of 2014 did not go as smoothly for the 24-year-old. Klute was forced to leave the opening match of the MLS season after 52 minutes due to a hamstring injury.
Rapids Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni confirmed on Tuesday that the defender would likely miss some time due to the injury.
“He’s going to be, I believe, out for a couple weeks with a hamstring,” said Mastroeni after the team’s training session. “So it’s the next man up, ready to rock, and [we’ll] prepare for the next game without him.”
The Dallas-area native played 31 games in 2013, starting the final 30 of the season, and led the team with seven assists from his left back spot. One of the top vote-getters among all MLS defenders for end-of-season awards, Klute entered the lineup in the fourth match of the season after an injury to Diego Calderón and never left.
“Klute’s one of those guys who won’t come off unless he’s absolutely not able to go,” said Mastroeni. “I saw him today [Tuesday], and he wasn’t out there training with us.”
While there is disappointment at going without a player who has been a mainstay for the last year for the time being, Mastroeni has emphasized the cover that the team has in all positions.
“Every guy that’s here, whether you’re a rookie or an experienced player, is expected to go out there and do the same job, if not better, than the guy that you’re replacing,” said the Head Coach. “That’s the level of expectation I have for everyone here… and that’s the trust I have in everyone here to be able to do the job.”
Klute was replaced on Saturday by Marc Burch, an experienced player with a lot of MLS minutes in the same position. Burch, who was acquired in the offseason, played well in his 38 minutes, including a crucial tackle late in the game to break up a New York attack.
“It’s a great group of guys, it’s a great team,” said Mastroeni. “Marc Burch exemplifies that, going out on the field and not missing a beat, making a big play down the stretch.”
While Klute’s injury will keep him out of the lineup, it looks like Dillon Powers is fine after taking an elbow to the head during the game. The collision caused a gash to open up, and the bleeding didn’t stop quickly enough for the 2013 Rookie of the Year to continue.
“As far as I know about Dillon Powers, he’s feeling good,” said Mastroeni. “We’ll take it day-to-day, and see if there’s any response. We had a session today, and I think he feels good and he’s excited to keep it going.”
Powers also confirmed that he did not feel any concussion symptoms, either at the time of the impact or any time since the match ended.
The Rapids will likely count on depth in the coming months, with a match every week (and a pair of midweek games) until the World Cup break starting after the June 7 battle at FC Dallas.