rapids: Coach Mastroeni gets three-year contract extension after franchise’s best regular season
Team rewards coach after franchise’s best regular season
When the 2016 season began, almost no one expected the Rapids to be playoff contenders.
They were coming off backto-back dismal seasons and Pablo Mastroeni was entering the final year of his contract after winning just 17 of his first 68 league games as the Rapids’ coach.
One man who did believe in the former U.S. international, however, was Rapids president Tim Hinchey, who in November 2015 gave reporters an emphatic guarantee that Mastroeni would be a successful MLS coach.
The pressure was on. And, boy, was he right.
Mastroeni in 2016 led the Rapids to their best regular season in franchise history (15-613). He was rewarded with a new, three-year contract to stay on as the Rapids manager through 2019, a league source said Wednesday. ESPN FC first reported the deal Tuesday.
“I’m just thrilled for Pablo,” Hinchey said last month as the Rapids prepared for the Western Conference championship against the eventual MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders. “He’s worked awfully hard at his craft. He deserves everything that’s happened this year. It’s all been on him.”
The laundry list of accomplishments the Rapids achieved under Mastroeni in 2016 is lengthy.
Colorado had the best defense in MLS, challenged for the Supporters’ Shield until the final day of the season, qualified for CONCACAF Champions League for the second time in franchise history, earned a first-round playoff bye, defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy in a playoff series for the first time in franchise history and played the decisive leg of the Western Conference championship on home soil with a chance to host the MLS Cup Final.
“He did a fantastic job,” Rapids center back Jared Watts said last week. “And not only this year — the results were there and we were able to see that — but my three years, he’s learned, he’s progressed.”
Mastroeni completed the improbable turnaround by sticking steadfastly to the defensive style that’s become the Rapids’ John Hancock.
Colorado became the fifth team in league history to go undefeated at home during a regular season, was the ninth team in league history to allow less than one goal per game for an entire season, and set an MLS record for fewest goals allowed at home (seven) over the course of a season.
Mastroeni finished second in MLS coach of the year voting behind the man he replaced, former Rapids boss Oscar Pareja, who guided F.C. Dallas to the Supporters’ Shield and U.S. Open Cup.
Coach Pablo Mastroeni directed the Rapids to a successful season that included a playoff victory.