Much like the Sounders, Andy Rose has found his form after a slow start.
Seattle’s latest win – a 3-2 victory over Vancouver at CenturyLink Field on June 8 – solidified it as the hottest team in the MLS, having won five of their last six league games. And Rose, the team’s second-year midfielder, contributed a goal and an assist against the Whitecaps.
"It was nice to see Andy get back off the snide a little bit,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said.
“It hasn't been the best of seasons for him so far, so it was good for him to get that goal. I thought his game overall was better (against Vancouver). I thought he fatigued a little bit towards the end because he hasn't had a lot of 90-minutes. He had to sort of gut it out a little bit, but I thought this game was a definite improvement."
Rose scored the opening goal against Vancouver, assisted by Lamar Neagle. Then Rose returned the favor by starting the sequence that led to Neagle’s game-winner.
“It’s always nice to score a goal – especially in a game like that, a rivalry game,” Rose said.
“Lamar was doing a good job of drawing that center back out. His vision and his first touch has been so good lately I thought I’d take a chance running to that hole. It’s always a dangerous play when a midfielder can run into that hole; I took that first touch and thought, why not?”
By most expectations, Rose overachieved in his rookie season, when he led all 2012 MLS supplemental draft picks with 1,156 minutes played over 23 appearances.
In 2013, he has four starts in eight MLS appearances, and he acknowledges that his second season has bumpier.
“It’s been a tough one,” he said. “Everything took off pretty early on last year for me, and the momentum carried me through the whole season.
"Coming in (this season) and not playing great: I thought I had a good start to preseason, and then for whatever reason players go through spells, dips in form, things like that, being a young pro I’ve had to learn that the hard way. It’s nice to sort of put that behind me the last few weeks with some really hard work on the training pitch.”
That training pitch could become especially important in Rose’s continuing efforts to increase his role with the team. Minutes are expected to get tighter as the team draws closer to full availability, and there are no more U.S. Open Cup or CONCACAF Champions League matches in the Sounders’ future.
Saturday when the Sounders play at Real Salt Lake, Schmid will have options, with Shalrie Joseph back from suspension and Brad Evans, Eddie Johnson and Mario Martinez back from duty with their national teams. Those new options – especially at midfield – could cut into the playing time of Rose.