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Mauro Rosales in precarious position at Seattle Sounders FC

Jul 22, 2013, 9:30 PM EDT

Sounders DP Mauro Rosales ... played sparingly during the season's stretch drive and didn't start Thursday in a match Seattle had to win. Getty Images

SEATTLE — The writing on the wall isn’t getting any better for Mauro Rosales. At this point, it’s hard to see him back in a Seattle Sounders FC jersey next season.

After Saturday’s 1-1 tie with the Colorado Rapids, Rosales has gone 548 minutes (eight full appearances) without a goal or an assist. The 2013 season has starkly contrasted with his previous two in the Emerald City, when he was the offensive metronome for the club with eight goals and 26 assists over 53 games.

So far this year, he has two goals and three assists in 17 matches. For both good and bad players, statistics don’t tell the whole story — but in this case, that doesn’t necessarily help Rosales. Head coach Sigi Schmid, for one, seems to be less than impressed with the 32-year-old Argentine’s recent play.

“I thought he played with a lot of energy and some things came off of it,” he said after Saturday’s game. “I thought today was a better game for him.”

The key word in that statement: “better.” A poor run of results for the Sounders — 1-3-1 in the last five games — is bound to make their coach grumpy, but Rosales wasn’t feeling much better when he talked to reporters separately.

“I feel OK. [I’d] just like to get confidence again,” he said. “When you are [lacking] confidence, sometimes you need more minutes … and I’m not getting that. I have to work and try to do what I have to do in the minutes that I get.”

Injuries have kept Rosales from getting minutes in years past and earlier this season, and his age won’t help him in that regard. However, he said he finally feels healthy.

“I didn’t expect [to be substituted against Colorado],” Rosales said. “I have to respect the decision of the coach. I was feeling very good in the game, and my time was over early. It was just because I don’t want it; it doesn’t mean that I don’t respect the coach’s decision.”

These days, the coach’s patience seems to be fairly short for a player who still wears the captain’s armband when he starts. Brad Evans started the last two games on the right wing (a 1-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes and a 2-0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps) before suffering a rib contusion against San Jose last week that forced a change.

At the start of those two matches, a healthy Rosales sat on the bench, although he did make appearances. Schmid said Evans could be available to start again on Sunday against Chivas USA, so Rosales could again find himself as surplus.

(More: Mauro Rosales also being linked with move out of Seattle [from Jan. 5])

But can Seattle afford to keep a Designated Player, who will make a guaranteed $225,000 in 2013, on the bench? That cap space could be used to sign another player, and the DP slot would likely entice a number of stars to don rave green and play in front of crowds of 38,000-plus people every week.

If he is willing to take a massive pay cut, that might add some fire back to Rosales’ game. In his first year with the Sounders, he was a steal, making just above the league minimum at $42,000 and setting the club assists record.

However, not many players willingly take reductions, even if they are happy at their clubs. If Seattle fails to make the playoffs this year, the best playmaker in the club’s short MLS history could be the first casualty.

  1. korules - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:06 AM

    “Rosales has gone 548 minutes (eight full appearances) without a goal or an assist.”

    Ah, so he’s back to his ‘ajax-level’.

  2. dws110 - Jul 23, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    Thank him for his service to the club and show him the door. We can find a much cheaper player to turn the ball over.

  3. charliej11 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    He was great, but not anymore….and Seattle will not win without someone feeding the forwards.

    I personally don’t think it is all him. I think other teams are keying on him, realizing the other Seattle mids have nothing offensively. Sigi, of course, can’t make the adjustments. Any guess on how many goals Seattle scores in the playoffs, if they make it….same as if they don’t right now.

    They have the talent, they need to make adjustments and get a new mid next year.

  4. talgrath - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Rosales is 32 at this point and the injury bug keeps biting him, it may be time for him to retire, unfortunately. Rosales was absolutely electric when he came in to Seattle, it seemed like every time he touched the ball he got an assist and I really have a lot of respect and love for the guy. But, this season and the end of last season has seen Rosales injured more often than on the pitch.

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