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02/23/2014
 
TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Colorado Rapids were one of the hottest teams in Major League Soccer last season, making the playoffs with a young, exciting team led by head coach Oscar Pareja. But Pareja left the team to take the helm at FC Dallas, where he had been a player and assistant coach, leaving a vacancy at head coach.

That vacancy remains 43 days later.

Pablo Mastroeni, a Rapids legend who played for the team until last year when he joined the LA Galaxy halfway through the season, is in place as the teams interim manager. And that's just fine with veteran defender Drew Moor.

"I think Pablo, although he was gone for about six months when he went with the Galaxy he’s really been a coach type figure the past two or three years for us at the Rapids," Moor said after the Rapids' 1-0 preseason win against Real Salt Lake. "He’s always leading, always thinking, always got new ideas and he’s certainly showed that in preseason so far. He knows what he wants out of this team. I think the players have responded well to it."

The Rapids have the added benefit of an extra week before the season begins, since the opener against San Jose was rescheduled to aid in the Earthquakes' CONCACAF Champions League preparations.

Even if Mastroeni does end up being named the head man, Moor said it's up to older players like him, and even some younger players who showed promise last season, to help provide leadership.

"Yeah, certainly feel a little bit more pressure to be a better leader this season, not that I don’t think I have in the past, but as young as we were last year it almost feels like we’ve gotten a little bit younger this year with some of the new faces, some of the draft picks, guys who are going to get some early experience much like we did last year," he said. "Even with some of the second-year players, my role, Marvell Wynne’s role, Edson Buddle’s role, against even Dillon Powers, Shane O’Neill, those guys are going to have to step up and it’s going to be leadership by committee without a doubt."

Moor has been pleased with how the team has progressed at the Desert Diamond Cup and said morale was boosted by the victory Saturday.

Even with Pareja leaving suddenly, the ex-FC Dallas defender said preseason has mostly been business as usual.

"It’s been a relatively smooth transition considering all the changes," Moor said. "Pablo’s been leading the first time but he’s not officially the coach yet. Some of the new faces coming in, there’s always a transition period, but it’s been good so far and I think the performance tonight showed it’s gone well so far."



 
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