Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni addresses report on team’s priorities

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The Colorado Rapids’ recent decision to send two starters to Minnesota United FC in return for unproven midfielders and an international roster spot has some fans scratching their heads. On top of that, an article published after the trade by FourFourTwo.com asserted that the move was to improve the Rapids in 2018, and some fans have interpreted comments made by Pablo Mastroeni in the article to mean that the 2017 season is not a priority for the front office. Mastroeni joined Vic Lombardi on Altitude Radio this past week to refute the article and alleviate fans worries.

Lombardi asked Mastroeni about a specific passage in the article in which he’s quoted, which reads, “You have to start sowing the seeds of 2018 today, so that way you can reap the fruit of all the planning, all the foresight in 2018. So, 2018 is critical for us. We’re going to continue doing what we do, but everything is done with the mindset of putting ourselves into position to really be able to utilize all the cap space, all the different transactions we’re making today, in the future.”

Mastroeni then refuted the claim that the club was sacrificing the 2017 season, and he offered words of caution to those who misinterpreted his statements.

“There’s nothing in there that says anything about sacrificing 2017,” Mastroeni said. “That’s why the printed word is so often misconstrued.”

Mastroeni then went on to detail exactly what he meant by his statement. Among other things, he said that he was trying to explain why a team would make a move like this that many fans believe hurts the team in the immediate present.

“When you prepare for the future, you will never have unlimited cap space, you’ll never have the right guy for the right position,” he said. “You’ll never have everything that you want in an ideal perspective on that day. So what you do is you start planting seeds today to open up maybe a little bit of cap space, to maybe get that one player that you’re looking for. And then in four months, in the next transfer window, you go, ‘OK, now we got that guy, let’s bring in this guy.’ And everything is done with a big plan in place. There’s a big blueprint.”

So in essence, what he’s saying is that the Rapids truly believe that the trade will improve the team in the long run. And the long run doesn’t necessarily mean 2017, nor does it rule out 2017: the Rapids could still make a move in the 2017 Secondary Transfer Window that opens on July 10 and closes on August 9. As far as the fans go, Centennial-38, the Rapids supporters group, made their feelings clear in the form of a press release on May 1.

The Rapids try to right the ship Friday night when they take on the Vancouver Whitecaps at home. Eight of the team’s next 11 games take place in what fans and players alike have affectionately nicknamed “The Fortress,” so maybe a little home cooking is just what the Rapids need.

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