When I reflect back to the off-season and think about the seemingly wasted time without a head coach it makes me angry that the Rapids didn't hire Pablo Mastroeni earlier. He seems like the right man for the job in many ways. Pablo knows the team and management very well. He's knows the culture of Colorado well and that might be the reason that the Rapids are excelling at the moment. The Rapids are having their best start to the season in several years. The reason for all of this? Pablito's way.
The captain of the Rapids' only title was a stalwart for more than a decade in the blue and later burgundy. Gaining invaluable experience in World Cups and dominating the Mexican national soccer team helped Pablo learn more about the sport. There has to be something special about a coach who came up in MLS. Only very recently have coaches who can say they played the majority of their careers in MLS become leaders of teams. City FC coach Jason Kreis had a lot of success for Salt Lake, but Kreis was a hired gun. Pablo spent his prime and more playing in this town. He has roots here. This makes the transition to a new job easier.
More importantly he knows the front office and how they like to do things. It always seemed that the last few coaches had passionate disagreements with the people in charge. Several of them have teamed up in Dallas and I think that those matches will be more competitive than Salt Lake citizens volunteering for who gets to make the jello casserole at their boring tailgates.
I've noticed in other sports that hiring a coach with virtually no experience is generally a bad idea. One recent example of this is Jason Kidd of the Brooklyn Nets. Kidd has the Nets peaking near the playoffs while earning a top seed. Kidd may be the outlier or (hopefully) in Colorado's case, the new norm. What both of these players have is a plus for a new kind of coach. Closeness to the players. In age, reputation, and having accountability. It was always said that great players couldn't be a great coach. Maybe it was the grind of becoming the coach that was the problem. How do you become a great coach? What makes the players give you credibility? Winning. Being successful and relatable are two hurdles that Mastroeni will have easier than a new coach. Knowing the team and system are the other ways that will make it easier on Pablo. It seems like he is set-up to have success. It's like shooting fish in a barrel.