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Changing of MLS guard continues with Pablo Mastroeni's retirement

Pablo Mastroeni Former U.S. national team and MLS Cup-winning midfielder Pablo Mastroeni announced his retirement after a 16-year career on Tuesday. (Jack Dempsey/AP)

Former U.S. national team and MLS Cup-winning midfielder Pablo Mastroeni announced his retirement Tuesday, bringing an end to yet another lengthy career for a grizzled MLS great.

The 37-year-old Mastroeni steps aside after a 16-year career, one that included places at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups and a 2010 MLS Cup title with the Colorado Rapids. Mastroeni, who began his career with the since-contracted Miami Fusion, ended his career with the LA Galaxy after a June trade from Colorado reunited him with former U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena, under whom he earned 50 of his 65 international caps.

As for Mastroeni's place in MLS and U.S. Soccer lore, there's no denying his lofty all-time status, as evidenced by his former teammates, both for club and country, chiming in following his announcement:

https://twitter.com/drewmoor/status/410459562345394176

https://twitter.com/TaylorTwellman/status/410461155241361408

https://twitter.com/AtibaHarris/status/410459317834223617

https://twitter.com/SachaKljestan/status/410463035455569921

https://twitter.com/kylemartino/status/410463593872633856

https://twitter.com/herculezg/status/410496511852572672

A hard-tackling, ball-winning presence in central midfield, Mastroeni joins MLS veterans Brian Ching, Kevin Hartman and league original Ramiro Corrales and relative MLS newbies but longtime players Jimmy Nielsen and Young-Pyo Lee among those to call it quits following the 2013 campaign.

He steps aside having played the eighth-most games in MLS history (334) and the fifth-most minutes (27,522). According to a press release, the Rapids plan to honor him at a home game to-be-determined during the 2014 season.

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