[MLS PLAYER SPOTLIGHT] Pablo Mastroeni hit a 28-yard rocket for Colorado's game-winning goal in a 2-1 win over New England. In the same game, he also sent a reminder of why, with all that talent, he isn't in the USA's World Cup picture after being a key player in its quarterfinal run at the 2002 World Cup.
In 2002, at age 25, Mastroeni played three games for the USA at the World Cup. A tenacious defender with excellent ball skills, he was exactly what the national team needed. A bright career with the red, white and blue beckoned.
He was there four years later, at the World Cup in Germany, but earned a red card during the USA’s second game against Italy, which went on the lift the title. The USA managed a 1-1 tie against Italy. A game it could have won had Mastroeni stayed on the field.
His shot against New England was a beauty. But he also committed a foul that gave the Revs the free kick they scored from. And, no surprise, he earned a yellow card. His second of the season in five games, and the 71st of his career.
Mastroeni is MLS’s all-time leader in yellow cards and second in red cards, with seven. He’s in the Top 10 for foul committed, with 417 in 262 games.
But his goal against the Revs was only his fifth in a 13-year MLS career.
At age 33, his national team career is over. He's too much of a liability. But he still has a chance to shed the dark side of his game in his remaining days in MLS.