Rosales dishes it out, Sounders take it

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.comSeptember 26, 2013 

A corner kick launched by Mauro Rosales and finished by Eddie Johnson sparked the Seattle Sounders to their 1-1 draw at Los Angeles last Saturday.

It also marked Rosales’ 34th assist for the Sounders, pulling him even with Fredy Montero for the club career lead.

“I’m proud of that,” Rosales said this week. “I’m really happy. It’s more about the players that make that for me, scoring goals and making a good goal for the team. This is the success of the team: scoring goals, winning games. I’m very proud to be part of the history.”

Rosales has assisted 12 different players since joining the club in 2011. And he’s never had more options than this season, with the addition of designated players Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey along with the emergence of Lamar Neagle. Johnson, Martins and Neagle are tied for the club lead with eight goals apiece.

“I know sometimes if you give the ball to one, the other one can get upset,” Rosales said. “I get used to that. Your mentality has to be always positive to other guys. I don’t have preference to anybody. I just want the preference to Seattle Sounders and the success of the team.”

Still, Rosales has been most productive in combination with Johnson, assisting him 10 times.

“The services are good, but at the end of the day, I gotta get credit too for putting the ball into the net,” Johnson said Wednesday.

Rosales is happy to give Johnson his due.

“He is in the top players for me,” he said. “… Playing with this kind of player makes you work easily.”

Rosales, 32, signed with Seattle after having played more than 400 professional matches in his native Argentina at River Plate and Newell’s Old Boys, and at Ajax of Holland. He also has 10 appearances with the Argentina national team.

He was named MLS newcomer of the year in 2011, when he set the Sounders’ record with 13 assists. He duplicated that in 2012 and has added eight so far this season, including a league-high five game-winning assists.

Since coming into the league, he is second in assists – two behind Brad Davis of Houston.

While the individual numbers add up nicely, a more important issue for the Sounders could be how many goals are coming on set pieces. Of Seattle’s 38 goals this season, six have come on free kicks, two on corners and two on penalty kicks.

“It definitely helps,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “In tight games sometimes a set-piece goal makes the difference. … You look at the L.A. game, and both goals came off of set pieces. One was a corner, and then their free kick. In tight games, those are the type of goals that sometimes swing it one way or the other.”

ADDED TIME

X-rays of Johnson’s sore shoulder came back negative. He returned to full training Wednesday and is expected to be available Sunday when the New York Red Bulls visit CenturyLink Field. … The Sounders are off Thursday. They will return to training Friday.

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt

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