Friday, October 29, 2010
Larentowicz steadies Colorado midfield
Jeff Larentowicz has been the difference maker in the Colorado Rapids midfield, as well as in their locker room.
Ridge Mahoney of Soccer America writes of how every successful team needs a player like Larentowicz as their anchor.
“I left New England after playing with Shalrie [Joseph] for so long, and it was always his team and his midfield,” says Larentowicz. “I was just there to pick up scraps. Pablo and Shalrie are comparable in terms of their experience and their dominance on the field.
“When I got here I just observed Pablo, watched him play, and found my spot. There wasn’t a lot of conversation about how we were going to play or what we were going to do, it was just kind of innate. I just sat back, watched him, and found the gaps and the holes where I needed to be.”
At 27, Larentowicz is seven years younger than Mastroeni and can cover a lot of ground as the former U.S. international tries to bolster the attack. Yet they share offensive and defensive duties, and by scoring four goals Larentowicz doubled the output of Mastroeni, who also registered three assists.
Coach Gary Smith needed Larentowicz to toughen up what he perceived to be a rather benign central midfield, and also to bring along a track record of success.
“Jeff was out of contract in New England and most teams were aware that Jeff was available,” says Smith. “He’d been one of their most consistent players and was somebody I felt would be a huge addition, not only on the field with the role that he plays, but also as a character in the locker room.
“He’s one of those players -- and you need as many of them as you can get – that when you write in your team, if you can get seven out of 10 regularly, you’re not doing too bad. Once we knew he was available it was a question of getting the right deal, and getting together with Jeff and his agent to work out a contract so he could re-sign with MLS. Fortunately, we were able to do both.”
Posted by Mike Jacobs at 6:13 AM