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MLS West Notes: Mastroeni mulls retirement, Timbers seek playoffs & more


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Pablo Mastroeni is considering hanging up his boots. 

With a long and illustrious resume, the Colorado Rapids captain and former U.S. international midfielder is thinking about retirement. Mastroeni has been a member of two World Cup squads (2002, 2006) for the U.S. national team, and he recently earned his first MLS Cup title with the Rapids in 2010.

The hard-tackling defensive midfielder has played in 26 games for the Rapids this season, scoring one goal and tallying four assists for the defending champions. After a decorated career for both club and country, the 35-year-old Mastroeni can't help but wonder if retirement is on the horizon according to an interview with

Here are more notes from around the Western Conference:


Laurent Courtois is hoping to add a bit of French flair to Chivas USA, but he'll need to get on the field first.

The much bally-hooed signing of the experienced Frenchman has paid little dividends for the Goats so far this season, as Courtois has made only six appearances for the Rojiblancos. During that time, Courtois has been dealing with fitness issues as well as returning to full health after the European offseason. A blunt man, Courtois belives that Chivas can turn around from it's three game winless streak. 

"We have quality, we have technique, we work well, we have everything to do it well, but we have to think a bit more," Courtois said. "We have to think about what can happen in case we lose the ball and this is how we have to improve."


The FC Dallas community suffered a pair of tragic losses over the past couple of weeks with longtime player and broadcaster Bobby Rhine, 35, and academy player Jose Perez, 18, each passing away.

The healing process will continue this weekend, when the club's March to the Match includes MLS commissioner Don Garber and members of the Rhine family. Team president and CEO Doug Quinn and star winger Brek Shea will also participate, as the club continues to honor Rhine's memory.


After making a crucial mistake in the Los Angeles Galaxy's CONCACAF Champions League loss to Morelia that gave Monarcas their first goal, Josh Saunders is looking for a quick return to the field.

Despite giving up the goal, Saunders' night was mostly positive, as the Galaxy goalkeeper made about seven key saves that helped keep the Galaxy in the match throughout the game. With the Galaxy facing the Vancouver Whitecaps, who sit at the bottom of the Western Conference, Saunders may get a chance to step back on the field on Saturday. Although Saunders was low key about returning to the field, he couldn't help but say it would be big for him if he got to suit up again this weekend.  

"It's one of those things that we'll have to see how it goes in training," said Saunders. "Donovan [Ricketts] came in [last game] and played extremely well. He's great to have as a teammate. If he plays, I'll support him 100 percent, and if I play then it'll be great to get back out there."


The Portland Timbers are on the cusp of a playoff berth in their first season in MLS; however to do secure one, they need to earn a big victory against the New England Revolution on Friday night. Currently sitting one point behind D.C. United, the Timbers understand that without a victory agianst the Revs at JELD-WEN Field, they may find themselves on the outside looking in come playoff time.

And that is not a fate that they want to suffer. 

"It's not fun to go home after the last game and say, 'I'm done,'"goalkeeper Troy Perkins told The Oregonian. "Now you have to watch the playoffs on television. You have to watch teams that you beat in the playoffs and possibly win the (MLS) Cup. It's possibly the worst feeling, besides retiring." 


Rotation has been a big part of the Real Salt Lake season this year.

With injuries wrecking havoc on their lineup, RSL has relied on plenty of bench players to maintain their depth as they press for a high seed in the playoffs. One place that the Claret-and-Cobalt have been stretched is at fullback, where veteran starter Chris Wingert has dealt with a broken wrist since Aug. 13. With Tony Beltran suspended, RSL may need to rely on Robbie Russell and newcomer Blake Wagner for their next match. 

"We have to make some difficult choices now when we start getting players healthy. We actually get to make decisions, which is nice," head coach Jason Kreis told The Deseret News. "For us, we chose to be a little more offensive-minded, use some guys in the 18 that have done a lot for us up to this point rather than put someone in who hasn't contributed for us and put him in a tough spot."


Chris Wondolowski is approaching the No. 2 on the San Jose Earthquakes' scoring list.

When he does, he'll be passing San Jose's former golden boy and current villan, Landon Donovan. The current Los Angeles Galaxy captain is second on the club's all-time list with 31 goals, and when Wondolowski scores his next goal, he'll tie Donovan's record. Both players are behind Ronald Cerritos, who has scored 61 goals in his time with the Earthquakes. For Wondolowski, it will be a real honor to pass Donovan.  

"It's a huge benchmark and a huge honor," Wondolowski told reporters in San Jose. "When he was here, he did amazing things, so just to even be close to him, it's pretty special."


The Sounders seem to have Fredy Montero back to full form, and that's a scary thing for the rest of the league. After scoring two goals against Herediano on Wednesday, Sigi Schmid told reporters that his star Colombian striker seems to be back to full fitness. 

"Goal scorers, sometimes they are streaky," Schmid said. "He is hitting a good streak, and we need him to hit a good streak. We have been the kind of team when he wasn't on a streak there was somebody else who would step up and score goals for us. He scored an important goal obviously in league and now scored again here in this competition to get an early lead, which is very important in these games away from home."


Mustapha Jarju has struggled for the Vancouver Whitecaps.

After his signing was preceded with a "major player announcement" tag from the club, Jarju has not made a major impact for the expansion side. The Whitecaps' Designated Player has played just six matches — three of which were starts — and has yet to register a goal or assist. 

Part of the reasoning behind his struggles is due to his travel to his native Gambia during African Cup of Nations qualifying. In an interview with The Province, head coach Tom Soehn admits that his DP has had his difficulties balancing duties for club and country. 

"Every time we've got him back from national team duty, he comes back with very heavy legs, and I thought he came in and didn't give us much on a day that we needed him," Soehn said. "Whether it's the travel he goes through from Africa, that's two times we've used him as a sub and didn't think we got enough and that's something we're going to have to watch."


  1. You’re right about a few great wins, but that doesn’t make Portland superior or the teams they lose to inferior. They stand where they stand, and just because they beat LA and lost to Toronto doesn’t make them better than if they had lost to LA and beat Toronto. Both equal a 1 and 1 record.

  2. Wow, nothing like incomplete metrics to build a case. Yes, 5 wins against 9 teams. But 5 wins in 16 games, for a 5-9-2 record. You don’t exactly blow my point out of the water. Over a season, teams are gonna win some they “shouldn’t” and lose some they “shouldn’t”, and Portland’s standing would indicate they have done more of the latter than the former.

  3. Well, they only play each team twice, so it’s kind of impossible to beat teams frequently. But yes, I imagine it would be a bit disappointing to miss the playoffs after dismantling a team like LA, with wins over RSL and Dallas (and I know those were at home, but wins are wins). That’s what makes an expansion team’s first year so frustrating to fans and players alike – the Timbers have put together great wins, but also given away points to inferior teams.

  4. Perkins said, about missng the playoffs: “You have to watch teams that you beat in the playoffs and possibly win the (MLS) Cup.” Yeah? You beat many of those teams? Frequently? One would think you’d be in the playoffs and they wouldn’t, yeah?

  5. Sure, DM’s get reputations as thugs, but there’s being a thug, and then there’s being a thug and then whining about calls. I have no problem with ‘enforcer’ type players’ or hard-tacklers, but from what I’ve seen since he came into the league with Miami, he’s always cried about the calls against him. Not to mention that he’s clutch. And by that I mean he always seems to pick the worst times to blow up and make stupid mistakes.

    It doesn’t help that I remember him being a big reason why the US didn’t progress out of the group stage in WC2006. I’m also not a big fan of the Rapids at all, so I’m sure that’s biased, or soured, my opinion of him over the years. Ah well, to each their own.

  6. The Armas, Mastroeni, Clark, Bradley, and Beckerman types will never get much praise, but I will always appreciate the grit and heart they bring to the team. They make up for a lot of deficiencies elsewhere.

  7. So I guess this means that rather than Mastro standing around in a uniform with tiny shin guards on a soccer field we will now witness him standing around without shin guards off a soccer field in street clothes. Massive retirement transition.

  8. Any good DM is going to get a reputation as a ‘thug’ to some fans….but Pablo gets my respect when he says “I moved here at 4 and never thought of playing anywhere else but for the U.S.” when asked about thoughts of representing Argentina. He also admits he would likely have never been called in. Compare that attitude about the U.S.with others…and its not hard to like him

    By the way the article just points out that he is on the cusp of retirement, not that he is considering it…he is 35 and all 35 year olds would be on the cusp of retirement…

  9. I would be completely fine with seeing Mastroeni quit. I always saw him as a bit of a thug and a whiner when calls went against him. moreso than most people. I mean, he’s not as bad as C.Ronaldo in the whiner dept. but seeing him leave MLS would be an overall betterment of the league.

  10. I know he had some good saves, but Saunders was at fault for both goals in the costly Galaxy CCL loss, the first a real blunder—Maybe not the best time to be talking about playing time?


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