Andy Rose had been eager to contribute for Sounders FC all season. Entering his third season in Seattle, he had high expectations for himself and was hoping to take the next step in his young career and move into a more regular role with Seattle.
Injuries put some speed bumps in that process, but Rose came back with a vengeance last week. Making his first start since March 22, he scored two goals in Seattle’s 6-0 win in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal against the Chicago on Wednesday, and then made an emergency appearance at halftime in a 2-1 defeat to the always-tough Real Salt Lake.
“In training I’ve felt great the last two or three weeks. I knew if I kept on doing that a chance would come,” Rose said after the Open Cup victory. “To take advantage of it feels great.”
In Sounders FC’s first 24 competitive matches this season, Rose had totaled just 101 minutes. A pair of ill-timed injuries left him on the outside when opportunities have arisen for Seattle to utilize the club’s depth. However, last week he showed that he was not only ready to hit the field, but ready to contribute in a big way for Sounders FC as it pushes for the Supporters’ Shield and U.S. Open Cup over the final two months of the regular season.
His versatility in the midfield and hard-working nature make him a crucial component for Seattle’s success late in the season.
“He’s been held back with injuries and trying to get his fitness back. Andy is great, when he can come forward he is dangerous on set pieces like he is, and I thought he played some good balls in,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. “Andy can play very simple and sees things like that, so it's nice to have him set in the back where we can use him.”
Rose played in two different roles in his two latest appearances, too. Against Chicago, he partnered in the middle of midfield with Osvaldo Alonso in his most typical role, playing as a box-to-box midfielder that handles defensive responsibilities in the middle of the park while also contributing in the attack. The result was two headed goals off of brilliantly placed crosses from Marco Pappa in a 6-0 rout.
Against RSL, he came on as a halftime substitute when Brad Evans suffered a slight injury, quickly transitioning to a spot on the right side of midfield. Against Salt Lake, that role plays a bit differently than many others in MLS, which helped play into Rose’s skillset.
“It’s very different. The way they play with a diamond midfield, you are responsible for both their left midfielder pinching in and their left back,” Rose said. “When they’re winning they’re very good at keeping the ball, so that means extra running. I tried to stay wide, get the ball, keep us moving, switch the ball and find Clint as much as I could. It was a tough game.”
Now as Seattle prepares to face the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday at CenturyLink Field and the Portland Timbers on Sunday at Providence Park while dealing with the injuries to Evans and Pappa, Rose is standing at the wait to play any role necessary. After his contributions last week, he is understandably self-assured in what he brings to the team.
“It’s good to be back and feel confident,” Rose said. “More than the goals was just the general play that I was most pleased with – looking forward, being able to find the runners, being able to keep possession and things like that. Those are the things I need to bring to the table.”