Part of the problem with being such a young league is that we're a bit short on real history around MLS. When you ask around European teams, they'll all tell you about their club legends, scores of men who brought their teams to glory. With teams like the Rapids especially, there is a lack of history around. John Spencer is on our Wall of Honor, for crying out loud. Nothing against the little Scottish spitfire, but all he did was score a bunch of goals for some generally crappy Rapids teams for three years. A very good player, but not the kind of guy you'd be hearing about from a club that has been around for a bit longer.
Fortunately, in a league where players rarely stick around places for long periods of time, the best among them tend to go to Europe and there is rarely any continuity, the Rapids were lucky enough to have an actual legendary player among their ranks, Pablo Mastroeni. The long-time Rapids captain announced his retirement today, ending a 16-year career that saw him play for the Miami Fusion and Rapids before a very short stint with the LA Galaxy at the very end.
Mastroeni's career was a fruitful one, winning a Supporters' Shield with the Fusion and an MLS Cup with the Rapids, along with earning one appearance on the MLS Best XI and eight All-Star selections. With the United States Men's National Team, he played in two World Cups and earned two winners medals for Gold Cup victories with the US. With Colorado, he holds the records for most minutes and appearances, records that are unlikely to be broken any time soon.
Where he'll go next is going to be an interesting discussion. When the Galaxy traded for him one of the reasons given was that he was seeking a bit more playing time as his career neared its end, but there was naturally chat about Bruce Arena wanting his former USMNT player in LA so that he could woo him into a coaching position. Meanwhile, he acted as something of a player-coach in 2012 while he was recovering from a concussion, so Colorado fans have been hoping for his presence on his long-time club. We'll have to wait and see what he decides.
Until then, we'll await a celebration of Pablo next season at one of our home games. We can debate about Conor Casey and a few other names, but the next name on the Wall of Honor will have absolutely no debate.