Today was the first day of 11 v 11 action. While not all of the veterans played all of the minutes, all of the trialists and rookies did. When players were pulled out of the game they did fitness work on the side. Some of the notable moments were Babayele Sodade's speed/size combination and a nifty header. Eriq Zavaleta had to match up with that. Zavaleta's passing was great, but getting used to Sodade was a tough exercise. At one point Michael Gspurning was dribbling well beyond the penalty box and the offense put some pressure on him. He can pass. It's a fun thing to remember. When Andy Rose and Osvaldo Alonso were central mids at the same time they both got forward quite a bit in more of a double-pivot than the CDM/CM that is typical of Seattle.
But the matchup of the day were the two Akron guys facing off. Steve Zakuani in his traditional left wing spot faced DeAndre Yedlin. Sigi Schmid talked about that lesson for the youngster after practice, "It's a good lesson. It's something that I wanted. Steve's a good enough player he's embarrassed a few guys. So early on in that game Steve ended up getting behind DeAndre and just missed scoring a goal. He got behind him another time, but there were a couple times when DeAndre stood him up fairly well. It's just a learning curve type of thing. It's sort of a reminder that 'I still have things to do. I still have things to improve upon.'
The way it is it's like you're a senior in high school and you go to college and you think have it all figured out and then you find out you don't have it all figured out yet. And then you are a senior in college and you go 'I got it figured out now' and you enter the real world and you realize you don't have it figured out. DeAndre had it figured out at the college level and he's a good player who is going to figure it out on the pro level. It's good to know that he doesn't have it all figured out yet and he still needs to work on it. He's definitely going to be a very good pro."
Rose spent November and December of the offseason racking up travel miles. He went to see college friends at UCLA, back to England with his family, then time in Rome with his girlfriend's family, back to England for Christmas and back to Seattle on December 28th.
This year he is not a rookie, but a veteran. "I don't if I'm a veteran yet. I think I have to prove myself a few more years for that tag," Rose told Sounder at Heart after practice. "Obviously it is nice to have a year of a experience under your belt. You come in and feel a lot more used to everything. You know everybody's name and you're not the new face. At the same time it was only a year ago I was in that position. It's nice to talk to those guys and help them out with whenever they need. There's some really good guys so far. It's been a lot of fun."
He recognized that the central midfield is a competitive spot with Alonso, Tiffert, Evans and others pushing him to improve. Rose knows that he has to improve on last year and take more responsibility on the pitch.
"I thought I made strides last year throughout the season getting a little more comfortable with the box to box role rather than the more holding role I played in college, so timing my runs, getting forward, scoring goals is something I want to add to my game," Rose said. "I scored a few in the Reserve League and Champions League and what-not last season, but in MLS I'd really like to add a few more. And being more influential on the field, being a guy that guys are comfortable giving the ball to in tight spots and playing one-two touch and looking forward a bit more. There were times last season that I played a bit safe, which I'll continue to do because I'm a simple one-two touch player, but at the same time if I can add some more switches of play and more advantageous balls I'll be great."
Andy Rose, a veteran that doesn't want to be one. Oh, and more goals from him? He had four goals and five assists in first team competitive matches in 2012. In the Reserve League he had one. If he pushes for non-injury playing time with the deep central midfield he will have added what he says he wants to add.