After slow start Rose looking to bounce back

Hit by a bit of a sophomore slump, Sounders midfielder Andy Rose is ready for a strong second half.

Things came quickly for Andy Rose in his rookie season with Sounders FC in 2012.

The midfielder from UCLA earned a starting role against the Philadelphia Union in Seattle’s eighth match last season and immediately became a regular fixture in the lineup, finishing the season with 11 starts in 23 regular season appearances.

In 2013, he was experiencing a bit of a sophomore slump, struggling to make the jump to the next level for the Sounders in his second season. He started the first three matches of the season, but was unable to match the edge to his game in 2012 that made him a stalwart for the team and was left to use training, substitute appearances and reserve matches to get his rhythm back.

“It’s been a tough one. Everything took off pretty early for me last year and the momentum carried me through the whole season,” Rose said. “I thought I had a good start to preseason, but then for whatever reason players go through spells and dips in form and being a young pro I’ve had to learn that the hard way.”

Finally on Saturday, he made his return to the starting lineup, scoring a goal and an assist in a 3-2 win for the Sounders over the Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

His has been a welcome return for the Sounders, particularly with the recent absences of Osvaldo Alonso to injury and Shalrie Joseph to suspension.

“It was nice to see Andy get back off the snide a little bit. It hasn’t been the best of seasons for him so far, so it was good for him to get that goal,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “He had to sort of gut it out a little bit, but I thought this game was a definite improvement.”

While he had been focusing on progressing his game throughout the off-season and in the early parts of the season, it was a simplification of his game that got him back on track.

“Everything’s a learning curve. There’s going to be ups and downs and you just have to get back to what you did to get on the pitch to begin with,” he said. “It’s nice to try and put that behind me the last couple of weeks with some hard work on the training pitch and then you hope that you can have a performance in front of your fans to prove yourself again. Hopefully that’s what I’ve done and I’ll continue to do.”

Rose isn’t alone among the unsung heroes of Seattle’s successful turnaround. His midfield partner on Saturday, Servando Carrasco, has also filled in when called upon by Schmid and now has started in seven consecutive matches for the Sounders. Lamar Neagle has played forward alongside Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins and has shown that he can be a viable scoring threat in that situation with four goals and three assists already this season.

Getting those performances has been pivotal to Seattle’s success and Rose was the next player to rise to the occasion.

“For Andy Rose, this year has been a trying year because his playing time was down, then he steps up and scores a goal and is involved in our winning goal with an assist, as well,” Schmid said. “Those are key moments and when you have those guys contributing off the bench makes the first team guys push a little harder, as well.”

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