rapids: Coach Mas­troeni gets three-year con­tract ex­ten­sion af­ter fran­chise’s best reg­u­lar sea­son

Team re­wards coach af­ter fran­chise’s best reg­u­lar sea­son

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Daniel Boni­face Dan Boni­face: 303-954-1104, dboni­face@den­ver­post.com or @daniel­boni­face

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.

Daniel Petty, The Den­ver Post

Coach Pablo Mas­troeni di­rected the Rapids to a suc­cess­ful sea­son that in­cluded a play­off vic­tory.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.