Pablo Mastroeni

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Colorado Rapids fire head coach Pablo Mastroeni

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One of the faces of the Colorado Rapids is no longer with the team after nearly a decade and a half with the club.

The Rapids have fired head coach Pablo Mastroeni after three and a half seasons on the job. Colorado has the third fewest points in Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: Swans agree Sigurdsson fee ]

Mastroeni won the 2010 MLS Cup as a player with the Rapids, part of an 11-year run with the club.

The 65-times capped USMNT player finished his time in Colorado with a poor mark in three of four seasons, though the Rapids allowed the fewest goals in MLS last season.

Ex-Sheffield Wednesday youth team coach Steve Cook will take over as interim coach.

U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame ballot revealed, including Beckham

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CHICAGO (AP) David Beckham, the English midfielder who brought increased visibility to American soccer and won a pair of Major League Soccer titles while playing for the LA Galaxy from 2007-12, is among 12 first-time candidates on the 33-player ballot for the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Defender Steve Cherundolo, midfielder Pablo Mastroeni and forward Brian Ching, key parts of the U.S. national team, also are new candidates on the ballot announced Wednesday. Other first-timers include defenders Chris Albright, Danny Califf and Tina Frimpong Ellertson; goalkeepers Joe Cannon and Kevin Hartman, and midfielders Amado Guevara, Eddie Gaven and Leslie Osborne.

Defender Chris Armas and midfielder Jason Kreis, currently Orlando’s coach, are in their final year of eligibility. Former midfielder Ben Olsen, now D.C. United’s coach, is among the holdovers.

Other men on the ballot include goalkeeper Pat Onstad; defenders Gregg Berhalter, Frankie Hejduk and Tony Sanneh; midfielders Chris Klein, Eddie Lewis and Steve Ralston; and forwards Jeff Cunningham, Clint Mathis, Jaime Moreno, Ante Razov, Taylor Twellman and Josh Wolff.

Women on the ballot include goalkeeper Briana Scurry; defenders Kate Sobrero Markgraf and Heather Mitts; midfielder Aly Wagner; and forward Tiffeny Milbrett.

Voting will take place among men’s and women’s national team coaches, Major League Soccer and National Women’s Soccer league management, U.S. Soccer Federation leadership, Hall of Famers and media. Each voter can list up to 10 players, and a player must appear on at least 66.7 percent of ballots to earn election.

Among those on the builder ballot are former USSF President Bob Contiguglia; referee Esse Baharmast; coaches Gene Chyzowych, Eddie Firmani, Gordon Jago and Joe Machnik; and administrators Richard Groff, Tim Leiweke, Francisco Marcos and Kevin Payne.

The 15-player veteran ballot, voted on only by Hall of Famers, has George Best, Chico Borja, Mike Burns, John Doyle, Marco Etcheverry, Linda Hamilton, Mary Harvey, Chris Henderson, Dominic Kinnear, Shep Messing, Cindy Parlow, Tiffany Roberts, Mike Sorber, Tisha Venturini-Hoch and Roy Wegerle.

The hall’s building in Oneonta, New York, closed in 2010. A new facility in Frisco, Texas, is under construction and slated to open in 2018.

PST selects its 2016 MLS Coach of the Year

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So many variables go into how a coach’s performance is viewed by the media, public, and even his players.

Seattle is a terrific example. The Sounders didn’t know Obafemi Martins would bolt for China, nor did they know Clint Dempsey would miss half the season with a heart ailment.

They also didn’t know they’d scoop up Nicolas Lodeiro, who would show up, oh, right at the time one coach left, another stepped in, and Seattle started winning nearly every game in a surprising run to the MLS Cup final.

[ MORE: Chapecoense — Fairytale to Tragedy ]

So is it Jims and Joes, or Xs and Os?

Obviously it’s a bit of both, and we believe PST’s staff voting for MLS Coach of the Year takes into account the right variables.

Votes came in for several candidates:

COMMERCE CITY, CO - NOVEMBER 27:  Head Coach Brian Schmetzer of the Seattle Sounders smiles as he holds the MLS Western Conference trophy alongside General Manager Garth Lagerwey after a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on November 27, 2016 in Commerce City, Colorado.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Schmetzer with the MLS Western Conference trophy (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images).

— Sounders boss Brian Schmetzer (right) received a write-in despite being left off the MLS ballot. He skippered Seattle back into playoff contention after the Sounders parted ways with longtime coach Sigi Schmid.

— His potential opponent in the final, Greg Vanney, of Toronto FC, also received a write-in third-place vote.

[ MORE: PST’s MLS Defender of the Year ]

Two coaches aside from our winner picked up first-place votes:

— New York City boss Patrick Vieira sorted out the mess in the Bronx, working with the egos of several stars, and nurturing several young stars-in-waiting.

— FC Dallas’ Oscar Pareja handled a potential MVP forcing his way out of dodge (Fabian Castillo), while forging the Walker Zimmerman-Matt Hedges partnership and guiding the Texas club to a double.

But the winner simply has to be Pablo Mastroeni.

The club legend entered his third season at the helm under intense scrutiny. Colorado finished his first year 17th in MLS, and its second in 18th.

[ MORE: PST’s MLS Goalkeeper of the Year ]

While Shkelzen Gashi certainly delivered in his role as one of the Rapids’ three Designated Players, Mastroeni engineered the second-most points in MLS by virtue of a stifling defense and disciplined formation.

Despite DP forward Kevin Doyle only managing six goals and Jermaine Jones fighting injuries for most of the season, the Rapids were able to put other pieces in position to succeed. Dominique Badji moved from an afterthought to a six-goal, four-assist sophomore, while Axel Sjoberg turned in a Defensive Player of the Year caliber season in his second season.

With three of our five first-place votes and a mention on every ballot, Pablo Mastroeni is our 2016 MLS Coach of the Year.

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2015 MLS season preview: Colorado Rapids

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  • Won MLS Cup in 2010
  • Missed playoffs last season
  • Allowed an uncharacteristic 62 goals in 2014

[ RELATED: All of PST’s MLS previews for 2015 ]

Key Player: Juan Ramirez

Forgive yourself if the name is unfamiliar; Colorado just signed the 21-year-old 11 days ago as the club’s second Designated Player in history. The flashy midfielder was compared to Vicente Sanchez by Rapids technical director Paul Bravo, and Colorado has to hope the former helps the latter become a more prolific scorer. Bravo and company talk about Ramirez as a long-term player, but the Rapids need him to be effective quickly if they hope to do anything in a tough Western Conference.

Other names to watch: Dillon Powers, Shane O’Neill, Marcelo Sarvas.

[ RELATED: MLS standings | stats | schedule ]

source: Getty Images
Sweaters for days.

Manager: Pablo Mastroeni

When Oscar Pareja left Colorado in the lurch left season, Mastroeni had mere months to make an omelet with another man’s ingredients. It wasn’t very good, with Colorado falling out of the playoff picture and struggling to find an identity. Enter a variety of players for 2015 who could really make a difference in a hurry should the club stay healthy. There’s Sarvas, who was part of a solid midfield in Los Angeles last season, as well as Michael Harrington (Portland) in the back and unheralded Sam Cronin (San Jose) in the middle of the park.

Mastroeni is being pegged as a potential “first to be fired” candidate this season, and that’s not a shot in the dark. But the respected on-field leader could also be a leader in bringing the Rapids into a surprising battle for a playoff spot.

Outlook for 2015

It could be a dark year in Commerce City, but don’t forget that this was a promising young team that floundered last year. Sarvas and Harrington will be in the locker room with Ramirez, O’Neill, Deshorn Brown and Powers, the latter of whom is an exceptional talent. Again, it’s a loaded conference, but Colorado will look to — and could — surprise many. Perhaps it’s more likely they are a year and a couple players away from playoff relevance. That doesn’t mean they won’t be fun to watch, and provide us with plenty of good moments.

MLS All-Star Game heads back to Colorado, opponent still to be announced

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Major League Soccer announced on Wednesday that Colorado Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni will lead a teams of MLS All Stars against an international giant of the game in Denver this July.

Slated to take place on Weds., July 29 at 9pm ET, the MLS All-Star Game now has a date, time and locale… but who will take on the All Stars?

Last season saw the All Stars beat Bayern Munich 2-1, with All Stars coach Caleb Porter getting a rather notorious cold shoulder from Pep Guardiola and staff. Bayern was rumored to be interested in a rematch (presumably to assert their dominance). The league has also yet to welcome a La Liga giant like Barcelona or Real Madrid.

[ MORE: AFCON roundup ]

Seven of the 11 non-MLS opponents have come from England, though the last two matches featured AS Roma and Bayern Munich. In the past, CD Guadalajara, Celtic, Everton, West Ham United and Fulham have played the villain, with Manchester United and Chelsea each coming twice.

The league will also bring back the Homegrown Game for a second season.