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Ten Keys To 2013 - No. 4: Martin Rivero

He's the spark of the offense, the guy that is supposed to blossom in 2013. Can Martin Rivero improve this season?

Brandon Wade

It's a damn shame that Martin Rivero is out of the picture for the first month or so of the season, because there is nobody on the team more intriguing than him going into 2013.

During his only preseason appearance against Portland -- the same game that got him injured, of course -- Rivero looked solid in a more roaming No. 10 role, compared to the 'stand at the top of the box and try to shoot whenever possible' model we saw last year. It was improvement, and that's what we're hoping to see from our budding playmaker in the midfield.

There are plenty of things that Rivero needs to get right this year that he got all wrong in 2012. His shooting, while frequent and frequently close, was off target way more often than not and resulted in one of the most hilariously low shot conversion ratios we've ever seen. His passes, while crisp and concise at the best of times, went to hell when the weather was cold or the team was playing on turf.

Two goals and eight assists is certainly nothing to sneeze at from a 22-year-old playing at a tough position. Still, there are few things more important to the offense this year than Rivero's form going from 'all right' to 'fantastic'. As we've seen in MLS before, one player with enough form can carry a team all the way to the playoffs. I don't think there's a player more likely to do that for Colorado this year than Rivero.