The sophomore slump may or not be a real thing, but Andy Rose is living it either way. The Seattle Sounders box-to-box midfielder has found his second season in MLS to be quite a bit tougher than the first, watching his playing time just about cut in half.
Around this time last year, he was being heralded as one of MLS's top young players. He ended up featuring in 33 matches across all competitions and had four goals and four assists. This year, he's just happy to get on the field.
"It's been a lot of ups and lots of downs," Rose told me following a recent training session. "With the players in front of me, it's been tough to break through. With the team doing well, getting a lot of points, it's tough to change a winning team.
"To get those opportunities, sometimes when it comes when you have three matches in a week and suddenly you're called upon to make sure the level stays high and the team wins."
That was, of course, the exact situation that presented itself last week, as he got his first playing time in nearly two months. With several Sounders out on national-team duty and Brad Evans nursing an injured calf, Rose played twice including a full 90 minutes against the Chicago Fire. Rose was hardly dominant, but he did win 10 headers and was one of the Sounders' most active defensive players.
"I was very excited about it," Rose said about last week's playing time. "When you're training every day and working hard, you feel part of the team, but it's not until you get on the pitch and that you feel like you're needed. It was great to be a part of it."
Finally back in the rotation, Rose hopes he can continue to play a vital role as the Sounders head toward the home stretch.
"At this point in time, I'm just looking to work as hard as I can down the stretch and be a part of the team in the playoffs," he said. "I'm still confident. Hopefully i'll get some more chances."