Rose grabs starting opportunity against Montreal and excels in new Sounders formation

Andy Rose felt good during preseason. He was working hard and doing the things he needed to do during his opportunities on the field to show that he had made progress since finishing his second MLS season.

Though he couldn’t find his way onto the field in Seattle’s first two matches, Rose’s number was called on Sunday and he played 90 minutes in a 2-0 victory over the Montreal Impact in a reconfigured Seattle midfield.

“Andy’s been champing at the bit to get on the field and I know he was disappointed not getting on the field last week,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said.

His season debut very well could have come one week earlier when Brad Evans suffered a calf contusion early in the match against Toronto FC. However, Schmid opted for Gonzalo Pineda instead, favoring the possession-oriented veteran over the box-to-box style of Rose.

On Sunday, Rose started in front of the tandem of Pineda and Osvaldo Alonso and served as a link to Seattle’s forward trio and as defensive cover for an overloaded Montreal midfield. While the chance to get on the field didn’t come without some patience, it was rewarding for Rose to play a role in Seattle’s victory.

“It felt so great. I worked really hard in preseason and it’s frustrating when you don’t a chance in the first couple of weeks. I just had to keep my head down and keep working hard in training and it paid off,” Rose said. “When you get an opportunity, you’ve got to grab it with both hands because we have a very talented midfield.”

Rose will continue to compete for minutes with the likes of Alonso, Pineda, Evans and Dempsey, biding his time until opportunities arise. And with Dempsey and Evans likely to miss time in the coming months for international duty, they may come often, so he will look to stay sharp so when his name is called, he can rise to the occasion.

That will mean more work in training, but that’s no problem for Rose.

“Anytime you get an opportunity to play you want to step up and take it,” Rose said. “There were still things I could have done better, but I’ll get back to training, give it everything I’ve got and make it difficult to take me out of the lineup.”

Seattle’s next match is Saturday at 7pm PT at CenturyLink Field against the Columbus Crew.