In preseason of the 2011 season, Sounders FC welcomed a new player to training. People didn’t initially think much of the new face on the practice field, other than that they sang “Happy Birthday” to him as he celebrated his 30th birthday on the day of his first training session.
Because of the league’s rules on signing new players from outside the league, his identity was kept quiet for the first few days he was with the team. However, his teammates could tell right away that he was a special talent.
It wasn’t long before “The Trialist” was one of the main cogs in Sounders FC’s machine, as Mauro Rosales cranked a club-record 13 assists in his first season. A captain over the next two years, Rosales amassed 34 assists, also matching a club record.
But like previous years, Sounders FC is looking to make changes ahead of the 2014 season and one of the casualties of that transition is the 32-year-old Rosales.
“It’s horrifically difficult. The worst part of the job for me is parting ways with players,” Owner and General Manager Adrian Hanauer said on the SoundersFC.com Round Table this week of the likely losses of Rosales, goalkeeper Michael Gspurning and midfielder Steve Zakuani. “It’s always difficult to part with players, especially when they are players that are such great individuals and have been a big part of the success on and off the field and do really embody what we’re all about. I hate to be the guy that says ‘It’s a business,’ but unfortunately it is a business and it’s a business with a very difficult salary cap to maneuver around. Sometimes we have to make difficult decisions that help us, hopefully, build for a stronger present, but also maybe looks to the future a bit as well too.”
Rosales ranks seventh on the club’s all-time scoring list with 12 goals in addition to being tied with Fredy Montero atop the assists list. He ranks seventh on the all-time appearances list with 86 games played.
Sounders FC acquired 22-year-old forward Tristan Bowen in the trade, also swapping places in the allocation ranking, moving to the No. 2 spot while Chivas receives the No. 13 ranking.
Bowen is a five-year MLS veteran, playing two years with the LA Galaxy before playing the last three seasons with Chivas USA. In 2013, he had two goals and two assists in 22 matches, starting in 15 matches for Chivas USA. He was the first Homegrown Player after the initiative was instituted in 2009.