MLSSoccer.com: Rapids see upcoming break as great opportunity to get healthy

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Bruised, battered, and defeated.  

Following Tuesday night’s 3-1 home loss to the Seattle Sounders, Pablo Mastroeni and the Colorado Rapids stated that they were looking forward to the upcoming Gold Cup break. The primary reason for that is because they see it as an opportunity to get healthy.

“We knew this stretch of games was going to be difficult,” Rapids head coach Mastroeni said following the defeat. “I think there were seven or eight games in 22 days, 25 guys on the roster, and five injuries. We knew that balance was going to be tricky in the latter part of this set of games.”

The long stretch included two U.S. Open Cup matches, including the recent matchup against FC Dallas in which three Colorado players exited due to injury.  The Rapids entered the Fourth of July tilt with Seattle with a total of six players on their injury list, including center backs Bobby Burling and Axel Sjoberg.

“We have a lot of injuries, so hopefully we can get some guys back,” said Rapids midfielder Mohammed Saeid, who himself has dealt with a knee injury during the recent stretch of games. “I know we have a great team, so we just have to keep it up.”

To the Rapids’ credit, Tuesday night’s effort was one of Colorado’s better offensive performances statistically. They controlled 64 percent of the game’s possession and outshot Seattle, 14-11. But the Sounders proved to be the more clinical of the two sides, producing their three goals from four shots on target.

“I thought we were set up to get a good result here,” said Mastroeni. “Unfortunately, we got behind against a team that has a lot of fire power in Clint [Dempsey], Will [Bruin] and [Nicolas] Lodeiro, so when you’re chasing the game against this kind of team, it makes it very difficult. That said, I could not be more proud of the effort and commitment that they showed one another tonight.”

A complete performance on both sides of the ball will be another focus for Colorado as they head into the break.

“It will give us a chance to get everyone healthy and it will give us a chance to bring players in,” said Mastroeni, alluding to the upcoming July transfer window. “More importantly, [it will allow us to] continue to work on both sides of the ball. We’ve been stressing to get the ball in advanced areas, being more creative and committing numbers forward. 

"Having that time to go back to the basics and really hit on some of those things, on both sides of the ball are critical, especially if we’re going to bring in a couple of players into the team.”

Despite the loss, and only being one point abreast of the bottom of the Western Conference table, the Rapids are still only five points back from a playoff spot. Mastroeni remained optimistic for the team’s remaining slate of games.

“After a long stretch, eighteen games is welcomed for everyone,” he said. “It’s a reset to get back after it.”

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