If anyone else in Major League Soccer had traded for Pablo Mastroeni, I would strongly suspect they had made a mistake.
But as this is Bruce Arena, this looks like something to keep close eyes on.
Mastroeni, the former MLS All-Star and U.S. international, just went to Los Angeles in a trade after 12 years in Colorado – qualifying the midfield enforcer as an “institution” around Dicks Sporting Goods Park.
The Galaxy also got the rights to midfielder Baggio Husidic in the swap. Going the other way, the Rapids collect an international roster slot (through the end of the current season) and the Galaxy’s second-round pick in next year’s draft.
Clearly, the Rapids longtime captain, the team’s heart and soul, really, was a beloved figure for the Burgundy.
Mastroeni, 36, has had such a hard time staying on the field this year. Plus he missed most of last season dealing the effects of a concussion.
He was also going to have a hard time finding minutes going forward at DSG Park, where Hendry Thomas and rookie Dillon Powers have become trusted figures in central midfield roles.
But Arena has been a master of bringing in older players and making them fit into useful roles. Not all of them have contributed heavily (Frankie Hejduk, for instance), but a quite a few have proven to be major influences on successful teams. A few examples: Chris Birchall, Gregg Berhalter, Jovan Kirovski, Chris Klein and Eddie Lewis.
If Mastroeni can play a few games here and there, spelling Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho, and be a 70th-minute guy who can help close out games when the Galaxy are ahead, this could prove another great move from Arena.