Pablo Mastroeni has done a pretty solid job keeping the Colorado Rapids from falling apart, all things considered. The rookie head coach didn't even get his title until the season started and was working with a lineup that was still pretty inexperienced itself. Still, he's managed to keep the Rapids in the playoff hunt.
His job just got a lot tougher on Tuesday when it was revealed that his starting center back tandem of Drew Moor and Shane O'Neill may both miss the remainder of the season. Moor, who left Sunday's loss to D.C. United with what the team originally ruled as a knee sprain, underwent an MRI that revealed a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season. The diagnosis is not so clear with the 20-year-old O'Neill, but the prognosis doesn't seem much better.
From bad to worse: Shane O'Neill may be done for the year. Certainly not playing anytime soon. More shortly. #Rapids96— Chris Bianchi (@Rapids_News) August 19, 2014
O'Neill has not played since July 12, a stretch of six matches. All the while the Rapids have resisted specifying the exact nature of O'Neill's injury, only saying that it was a knee injury.
Marvell Wynne had been filling in for O'Neill and Jarred Watts replaced Moor on Sunday. Although Wynne was once considered an up-and-coming star at center back, he has been moved back to right back the last couple of seasons. Watts, a rookie, has primarily played as a defensive midfielder.
None of this is good news for a Rapids team whose fortunes were already sinking. Since O'Neill's injury, they've gone 1-5-0 and allowed 13 goals. The Rapids have also dropped to seventh in the Western Conference standings, just three points behind the Vancouver Whitecaps but having played one additional game.
Turning the season around won't be impossible, not by any stretch, but Mastroeni has his work cut out for him.