Because Vancouver needed more attackers, right? The team is embarrassingly deep, with the likes of Darren Mattocks, Erik Hurtado, Sebastian Fernández, and Kekuta Manneh benefitting from the playmaking of Pedro Morales. Add in talents like Russell Teibert, Omar Salgado, and Nicolas Mezquida in reserve, and the Whitecaps may not need any more firepower, even if that firepower is Mauro Rosales.
Then again, Vancouver didn’t need Nigel Reo-Coker anymore, either, which is why the opportunity to swap the former Premier League destroyer for one of the league’s most creative wide players may have been too enticing to refused. The Whitecaps may not have a need for Rosales, but from their point of view, the swap’s like giving up nothing for something.
That something is a 33-year-old right winger who had eight assists in 21 appearances for Chivas, who became the newest Whitecaps with the announcement of this afternoon’s trade. In 107 career MLS appearance, the Argentine midfielder has scored 12 goals and set up 42 others – the second-most assists in the league during that time.
Hard-working, experienced, and capable of delivering some of the league’s best crosses, Rosales could pile into that assist total while playing beside Mattocks and Morales. He could also find a talented team difficult to break into.
“If you look at Mauro’s history, he’s constantly creating goals,” head coach Carl Robinson said, via a statement released by the club. “He’s experienced, bright, and has a super football brain. His delivery on crosses is fantastic, and I know he’s a good guy. That’s important in this locker room.”
That presence will be particularly important as playing time gets sorted out. Robinson may see Rosales as somebody who can slot into the starting XI, bumping one of Mattocks, Hurtado, or Fernández to the bench. He may also view him as a complementary piece, one whose ankles need to be monitored on BC Place’s turf.
That’s a significant problem with this trade. During his three seasons in Seattle, Rosales would become worn down by the end of the campaign, with life on CenturyLink’s turf forcing the veteran to don some of the more heavily-taped ankles in Major League Soccer. Come the postseason, Rosales’s health seemed to be a constant issue, something that limited his value to the club.
Given what Vancouver had to give up, however, that fit is worth the risk. Though Rosales takes up the team’s final Designated Player spot, he does so at the expense of only Reo-Coker, a touted import who has had trouble wrestling a spot in midfield away from Matías Laba and Gershon Koffie. At times pressed into service in defense, the 30-year-old Reo-Coker made eight starts this season, albeit only one since June 28.
With Teibert capable of playing a deeper role and Mehdi Ballouchy providing depth, Vancouver has four other players capable of manning their double pivot. Reo-Coker was expendable. While it’s unclear how much of an impact Rosales will have with the Whitecaps, the dice roll alone makes him more valuable than Reo-Coker.