In his last five starts, Mauro Rosales has recorded either a goal or an assist in each match, registering one goal and seven assists in that stretch.
The problem is that the Sounders FC has played nine matches in that span.
Rosales has missed the last three matches with a quad strain and was used as a substitute in another match. However, with the postseason just around the corner, he is expected to be back in the lineup when the Sounders face the Vancouver Whitecaps in a Cascadia Cup match on Saturday at Vancouver’s BC Place.
“I’ve been training with the group the last three days and that’s something that I needed – playing with them and getting my timing again,” said Rosales, who is third in the league with 13 assists. “It’s good. I feel good.”
The 2011 MLS Newcomer of the Year after he posted five goals and 13 assists last year, Rosales has been a noticeable absence for the Sounders over the last three matches.
When he starts, the Sounders are 10-3-7 this season, scoring 37 goals in 20 matches while allowing 22. By comparison, when he does not start, the Sounders are 3-4-2, scoring eight goals and allowing nine in nine matches.
Similarly, Seattle went 13-3-6 in his 2011 starts, outscoring their opponents 40-25 and going 5-4-3 when he didn’t start, though they still outscored their opposition 16-12.
Overall, the Sounders average 1.83 goals per match when he starts and 1.14 goals when he doesn’t. That translates in the standings, too, as they average 1.95 points per match in his starts and 1.16 when he isn’t in the Starting XI.
“You get used to playing with certain players and he’s a player who has an ability to break down a team when they pack in a little bit,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “He’s a guy with a little bit of that creative element. He’s also probably, with maybe (Christian) Tiffert as an exception, our best crosser of the ball. He’s a guy who the ball goes to when we’re playing and he sees a lot of the ball. When he’s not in there, you’re looking for different people to connect your game.”
Rosales was held out of Saturday’s match against the San Jose Earthquakes as a precaution, but has made significant steps forward in his recovery since suffering the injury after scoring in a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas on September 2.
He has been easing his way back into full training and this week returned to regular training with the rest of the team without any restriction and he is looking ready to get back to terrorizing defenses.
“Every day is a step forward and Saturday should be fine,” he said, matter-of-factly.
Kickoff is slated for 6 pm from BC Place on Saturday with national television coverage on NBC Sports and the local radio broadcast on 97.3 KIRO FM.