I was inundated with family this weekend and just came up for air to see not only this weekend's game, but also the more significant news that Pablo Mastroeni was traded to the Los Angeles Galaxy. I had to check the calendar to make sure this was not early April. It's not. The Rapids have lost their captain.
Reading that this was essentially his decision, one which the Rapids honored, is at best bittersweet. He's been the heart, soul, and face of this team for most of his eleven seasons, through three jersey colors, four head coaches, and he's the only captain of the Rapids to ever lift a trophy. He is the club captain, which means something in this sport.
On the one hand, he is supposed to be the face of the team and lead from the field, or the bench. He has a duty to his teammates which does not end if he's not in the lineup any given week. And given how long and well he has served the club, maybe I expected this leadership from him even more than I would from the average captain. So in this sense his choice to leave mid-season is very disappointing.
On the other hand, for eleven years he has served the club faithfully. He has earned the right to do what he wants to do, to finish his career as he sees fit. He has earned the right to be on a team where he can play regular minutes if that's what he wants. And I'm not sure I or other fans have a right to be disappointed in him after everything he has done for the club. From this perspective I'm glad the Rapids honored his request.
I don't know which perspective is best. I know it's a sad day for Colorado. I also believe the team can continue to progress and make this a special season, even without their captain of eight years. I also hope he comes back to be a part of the organization in some way when he retires. Whether the dreadlocked kid in green or the face of the black and blue movement or the bearded burgundy lifter of trophies, Pablo is a Rapid. ...He's just not on the Rapids anymore.
How will this affect his legacy? He'll always be a Rapids legend and have a special place in fans' hearts. But how will we see his exit. Was this a selfish move for a captain or the well-earned right of a Rapids legend? Please share your thoughts and comments.