Commerce City, CO – Pablo Mastroeni will be returning to Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Saturday as a visitor for the first time since he left Colorado to join the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Mastroeni spent 12 seasons with the Rapids and captained the team to its lone MLS Cup title in 2010 and he is the franchise leader in both appearances and minutes played.
Since joining the Galaxy, Mastroeni has appeared in five matches, and he made his first start last weekend in the team's 2-1 win over Vancouver.
And while returning to Colorado will be important, Mastroeni is more concerned with picking up points at this time in the season.
"I just think that it is great to go back to a place that I've been for 12 years and get a result at a crucial point in the season," said Mastroeni. "I'll be playing in front of a lot of people that are close to me. It's a special game, but looking at it from my perspective, it's a big game because what it means to this club."
The win over the Whitecaps was the third in the last four games for the Galaxy, who enter the weekend in third place in the Western Conference, four points back of leaders Real Salt Lake.
Colorado is only two points adrift of Los Angeles and the club is carrying a five-game unbeaten streak into Saturday's contest.
One of the biggest reasons for the Rapids run of recent success is down to the team's defensive record, which has dramatically improved from the month of June.
The Rapids yielded 13 goals in five games during June, but in the last four matches, Colorado has given away just two goals.
Rapids defender Drew Moor has played a big role in the team's defensive revival, and he thinks the recent success is down to the healthy competition amongst his teammates for spots in the lineup.
"We've just stayed concentrated," Moor commented when asked about the defensive improvement of his team. "We all have to be on the same page like we have been, and when you do have that healthy competition at the back [for lineup spots], it makes training that much more meaningful. And when you're training as hard as you can, games become that much easier to be on the same page."