Early season playing time helps Andy Rose prepare for Portland

USA TODAY Sports

Andy Rose indicates that the performance against Tigres should help prepare the Sounders to shut down Portland and put "on a show in front of our fans."

When Brad Evans went down with an injury early in the UANL Tigres match Andy Rose had to enter the field with little warm-up and little mental preparation. If he was a planned sub he would likely come on in the 60th minute or later, not the 27th. Rose played over 1800 minutes last year, but with added depth in the midfield this season there was a chance he would see less time. But, he's already at 125 minutes with a start in MLS play and starting level minutes in a CCL match.

That early appearance was made easier because of the way Seattle Sounders FC needed to press forward and push for goals.

"You just have to mentally switch on straight away and have just two or three minutes to get warmed up. Then it's almost easier to come in like that because you don't need to think too much, you just go straight in, enjoy yourself and get into the rhythm of the game as quickly as possible. Coming in at one-nil down, especially the last fifteen minutes of the first half we were trying to press which made it easy for me to come in too," Rose told Sounder at Heart after practice Thursday. "Obviously, I was trying to keep the ball for us, make good things happen going forward and obviously I got to get in a good warm-up in that first half and then that second half happened."

With Evans listed as Out for the Saturday match Rose is almost certain to start again. He would be doing so after playing a team that is as aggressive and talented as any in the region.

"Anytime you can play a team like that from a very good league it's going to help you confidence-wise for our team. I think we needed a sort of kick start to the season a little bit after the Montreal result. I think putting in a team performance and scoring three goals, especially the second half lifted everyone's spirits," Rose said with a smile. "Now you saw today in training everyone was excited to be back and talking about the result and what we did as a team. Obviously going into a rivalry game against Portland your spirits are going to be up and you want to be confident so that's great."

That confidence cannot lead Seattle to overlook the big Cascadia Cup match and just celebrate the win. Today's closed session will be all about that game. They have to focus on what Portland does and who they are. A large part of that will be led by the defense that is giving up only a goal a match in the three games played so far.

"That's one of our strengths, our strong defense, so we're always going to be confident in that. Obviously they're a different side than they were last year - new coach, new system, new players. We're excited to sort of shut them off in a way," Rose predicted. "We're very excited about what we've done in the offseason and the work we've put. Coming off a result like this we are full of confidence playing at home and putting on a show in front of our fans and getting a result."

Part of that process will be getting Osvaldo Alonso forward more often than in past years. The one time defensive mid need only look to Shalrie Joseph's best season to know that an MLS best d-mid can also be a goal creating machine (8 & 8 in 2009 MLS play). This may be a reason why Seattle is looking a bit more like a double-pivot than stacked CDM/CM early in the season. When Alonso gets forward Rose, Evans, Joseph or Carrasco will have to sit back and prevent the possibility of a counter.

"That's more of the role I was in as a youth player and in college," Rose explained about being a holder/defender. "Last year was really the first I played more that box-to-box role and getting forward, which was something I really enjoyed. I learned a lot last season - positioning, how to make those late runs into the box, linking up with the forwards and being more a link player than a holding player. Ozzie has that ability as well. He's very dangerous going forward so whenever I play with him I try to balance him off. When I see him going forward it's time for me to tuck in behind him, that's no problem for me at all. You just need to have a good awareness of each other I think we've shown that."

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