The last time many of us saw Pablo Mastroeni, he was doing a few games worth of color commentary on local Rapids’ broadcasts. It’s not the ideal game day seat for Colorado’s captain, but at the time, Mastroeni was just starting his comeback from a head injury, with post-concussion symptoms sidelining the 36-year-old since the Rapids’ March 18 win at Philadelphia. He wouldn’t play again in 2012.
Mastroeni and the team gave longtime fans some good news today when he signed on for another year in Colorado, the midfielder set for a 12th season with the Rapids. There’s no word on the length of the deal, but it’s assumed to be a one-year pact.
“I am thrilled to have signed a new contract and I can’t wait to get back on the field in 2013,” said Mastroeni. “I want to thank the club for their support in helping me return, and I am excited about what we can accomplish next year with Oscar [Pareja] leading the group. I’m honored to continue representing the Rapids and the state of Colorado.”
Since joining Colorado from Miami in 2002, the Argentine-born U.S. international has made 227 regular seasons appearances for the Rapids, becoming the club’s all time leader in games played.
In 2010, he combined with fellow defensive midfielder Jeff Larentowicz to form the backbone of MLS’s 2010 champions.
“Pablo is our captain, and a true leader on the field and in the locker room,” said Rapids Technical Director Paul Bravo.
“We missed him last season and know how much his presence can help us, whether it’s directing play in a match or helping players develop their knowledge of the game during practice. We’re very excited that he’s decided to continue playing with the club into 2013.”
Last year, Mastroeni played only twice, and despite the late-season acquisition of Honduran international Hendry Thomas to fill the void next to Larentowicz, Colorado failed to contend for the playoffs.
During his late season broadcasts, Mastroeni revealed that one of the main struggles early in his comeback was regaining the confidence to not be afraid of the ball. The concern highlights just how bad his head injury was.
Should he return this spring, Mastroeni will have spent one year on the sidelines.