HONOLULU, HI - FEBRUARY 21: Jeff Larentowicz #4 of the Colorado Rapids looks on during a break in the action during a preseason training session on the campus of the University of Hawaii on February 21, 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Rapids are preparing for the Hawaiin Islands Invitational Soccer Tournament. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Jeff Larentowicz did not have a good game against the Philadelphia Union on Sunday, playing far too physically en route to a red card. Unfortunately, he's going to have to miss the game against the New York Red Bulls on the 25th because of that card so the 4-3-3 is going to look a bit different.
Jeff plays a very special position, sitting just above the defensive line and charged with distributing the ball to his more upfield midfielders and the winger/striker combos, with almost no room for error. It's one of the hardest positions on a football pitch that you can play, so who will take over for the talented Larentowicz?
I think the most likely guy to take over Larentowicz's role is probably his fellow defensive midfielder Pablo Mastroeni, who played alongside Larentowicz the past two years in Gary Smith's 4-4-2 formation. If not, there's a couple of other candidates for that spot, perhaps Joseph Nane could take over the role - though I'd rather not go to Nane in that spot, we saw how well he does with that against Dallas last season - or maybe a guy like Wells Thompson could keep the defensive midfield work going in the back.
Mastroeni going back makes sense to me because there's so many more options for replacing Pablo in his attack based high role than there are good candidates to take the pivot spot in the back of the middle three. Tony Cascio has played that sort of role before, Martin Rivero should be available as well. Mastroeni being the back central man in the middle three of the 4-3-3 is an easy prediction to make, because it makes plenty of sense.