So it’s pretty surprising that Philly shipped the 25-year-old to Colorado on Wednesday for allocation money.
It’s another quality addition for Anthony Hudson’s Rapids, who’ve landed Kei Kamara and Kellyn Acosta since the middle of last season (And Diego Rubio’s full name is Diego Iván Rubio Köstner. So many K’s).
Rosenberry is a Pennsylvania native who was invited to USMNT camp in January 2017 and may well be a part of Gregg Berhalter’s call-ups, which will be announced Thursday.
From the moment I was drafted 3 years ago I have felt nothing but gratitude towards the @PhilaUnion organization & it’s fans. It is now time to start a new chapter with the @ColoradoRapids and I couldn’t be more excited about the future! pic.twitter.com/XK7GdnH9QP
Below is everything you need to know about the Eastern Conference heading into the 2017 season.
Record in 2016: N/A
Offseason evaluation: It was about as good as any new club could have hoped for, and the team has already showed flashes of brilliance in preseason. With three quality, young Designated Players, savvy veterans like Kenwyne Jones and Michael Parkhurst and a crop of young studs led by first round draft pick Miles Robinson, Atlanta is already off and running.
Key player: Miguel Almiron — The Paraguayan has made a name for himself in South American football, and now it’s his turn to live up to the billing in MLS. In addition to his club services, Almiron has made an impact for the Paraguayan national side at both the Copa America Centenario and also during 2018 CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying.
Coach: Gerardo “Tata” Martino – He’s coached at the highest levels of the game, including at Barcelona, but Martino takes his talents to an expansion side that has arguably won the offseason. There’s no questioning his resume, however, in a league with as parity as MLS, the savvy manager will have to prove himself once again in the United States.
Vague 2017 prediction: This is a deep, deep roster and although expansion sides of the past have struggled to come out firing from the gate, this Atlanta side could very well buck that trend.
Record in 2016: 7-17-10 – last in MLS’ Eastern Conference, last overall record in MLS (didn’t qualify for playoffs)
Offseason evaluation: The East Conference bottom dwellers had themselves a strong winter, clearly highlighted by their blockbuster trade for veteran midfielder Dax McCarty from the New York Red Bulls. Add in Hungarian attack Nemanja Nikolic and one of the league’s youngest rosters and this has strong potential in the offing.
Key player: Nemanja Nikolic — The 29-year-old starred in Europe with clubs like Legia Warsaw Videoton, and the Fire hope he can bring his goalscoring presence to a team that just 42 goals all season in 2016.
Coach: Veljko Paunovic — The young Serbian manager is still learning the ropes of MLS but he’s surely built a strong roster in just his second season in the U.S.
Vague 2017 prediction: Will the Fire make the playoffs? It looks a lot more likely than a season ago.
Record in 2016: 8-14-12 – 9th in MLS’ Eastern Conference, 18th overall in MLS (Did not qualify for playoffs)
Offseason evaluation: The Crew didn’t bring about too many changes during the offseason but their strong core of players, led by Ola Kamara, Ethan Finley and Federico Higuain should pose a great threat to opposing defenses in 2017. Meanwhile, Jonathan Mensah’s addition should fill a void in the back after the exit of veteran defender Michael Parkhurst.
Key player: Ola Kamara – The striker filled in nicely after Kei Kamara‘s move to the Revolution but he’ll have to avoid a sophomore slump in MLS if the Crew are to contend in the East once again.
Coach: Gregg Berhalter – As he enters his fourth full season with the club, Berhalter must regroup and his get his side focused after missing the playoffs in 2016.
Vague 2017 prediction: The Crew fell off big time from their MLS Cup appearance in 2015 but this is still a roster full of talent and will surely compete for a playoff spot in the East.
Record in 2016: 11-10-13 – 4th in MLS’ Eastern Conference, 9th overall in MLS (Knocked out in MLS Cup Conference semifinals)
Offseason evaluation: The Eastern Conference side has found a solid mix of youth and veteran pieces to help be in the mix for a playoff spot again in 2017. Ian Harkes will be one of the most watched youngsters this season after signing a Homegrown contract, while Luciano Acosta hopes to continue his impressive play in his second season with the club.
Key player: Patrick Mullins – After getting a new contract this offseason, Mullins will have some high expectations to carry over his goalscoring form from a season ago.
Coach: Ben Olson – Historically, D.C. has been one of the most successful franchises, but it’s been over 13 years since the club’s last MLS Cup. Olson knows that feeling back from his playing days, but it’s now his job to step up and help deliver one as a manager.
Vague 2017 prediction: This is a squad that is built to win now, particularly at the back, so Olson and co. will have to take advantage of the current roster.
Record in 2016: 11-11-12 – 5th in MLS’ Eastern Conference, 11th overall in MLS (Knocked out in MLS Cup knockout round)
Offseason evaluation:There’s no more Didier Drogba but the Impact still boast a squad that nearly qualified for MLS Cup last season.
Key player: Ignacio Piatti – He’s easily one of MLS’ most dynamic attackers, and without Drogba, Piatti will be able to influence this Impact side that much more.
Coach: Mauro Biello – Biello knows the club in and out, and he’s done everything right to this point. 2017 looks to be the season where the team can take the next step and contend for an MLS Cup title.
Vague 2017 prediction: The Impact have reached the postseason two consecutive seasons, and look to be on pace for a third and potentially have bigger sights set.
New England Revolution
Record in 2016: 11-14-9 – 7th in MLS’ Eastern Conference, 14th overall in MLS (Did not qualify for playoffs)
Offseason evaluation: The Revs were relatively quiet during the winter period, suggesting the club is content with its current core. There’s unquestioned talent on the roster, especially in the attack, but the Eastern Conference side has to back up its lack of moves early in the season.
Key player: Kei Kamara – Considering his track record in MLS, seven goals after joining the Revs was surely a disappointing season for Kamara. He’ll have to do better in 2017 to compete with the beasts in the East.
Coach: Jay Heaps – The Revs have made the postseason in three of their last four campaigns, but with the attacking group that the team boasts, Heaps will surely feel some pressure if the club doesn’t start off right.
Vague 2017 prediction: Kamara, Nguyen and Fagundez. If those guys click, this could be a top four side in the East.
New York City FC
Record in 2016: 15-10-9 – 2nd in MLS’ Eastern Conference, 4th overall in MLS (Knocked out in MLS Cup knockout round)
Offseason evaluation: Losing Frank Lampard was a big blow, but Patrick Vieira and co. have done a fantastic job of bringing in younger options around the squad. The jury is still out on how the backline will look on opening day, but there isn’t really any question regarding how good the attack will be again.
Key player: Maxi Moralez – The club’s third DP has big boots to fill after Frank Lampard’s production last season, but the South American attacker has already brought big expectations and is expected to help easy David Villa’s load.
Coach: Patrick Vieira – The Frenchman has done everything he said he would in terms of bringing in a younger core. Now, it’s up to Vieira to grind out results for NYCFC in the regular season and beyond.
Vague 2017 prediction: This is surely a playoff team barring injury, but the backline will once again be the area to watch if they are to make a run.
New York Red Bulls
Record in 2016: 16-9-9 – 1st in MLS’ Eastern Conference, 3rd overall in MLS (Lost in MLS Cup knockout round)
Offseason evaluation: The Dax McCarty trade is still mind-boggling to some, but the Red Bulls were simply looking to get younger in the midfield. Sean Davis is a suitable replacement at defensive mid, and it’s now just up to the rest of the attacking players to support Bradley Wright-Phillips during the critical junctures.
Key player: Gonzalo Veron – It’s safe to say the DP hasn’t lived up to the billing just yet, but there is promise. Veron’s speed and technical abilities are fun to watch, and a potential partnership up front with BWP could be what the Red Bulls need to make a deeper run in the playoffs.
Coach: Jesse Marsch – Some of the events that transpired during the offseason are still a bit unclear, but Marsch has fully proven himself as a manager in his two seasons with the Red Bulls. Now, he just has to be focused on getting the team over the hump and into MLS Cup.
Vague 2017 prediction: Like NYCFC, this is a playoff team. How far they can go is left to be determined.
Orlando City SC
Record in 2016: 9-11-14 – 8th in MLS’ Eastern Conference, 15th overall in MLS (Did not qualify for playoffs)
Offseason evaluation: Adding veterans like Will Johnson and Jonathan Spector this offseason will do wonders for the Lions defensively, but now the club just needs to hold up without injury to prevent opposition from breaking down their backline after conceding a league-leading 60 goals a year ago.
Key player: Cyle Larin — One of the most exciting young attackers in MLS, Larin has done everything to entice the Orlando City fan base thus far. It’s up to the rest of his team to help support the Canadian to help the club reach its first postseason.
Coach: Jason Kreis – The former U.S. striker has the chance to manage from the start of the season, so this will be a real opportunity to see how he can take charge of the Lions.
Vague 2017 prediction: Again, it’s on the defense. If they can keep goals out, this is a playoff-worthy team.
Record in 2016: 11-14-9 – 6th in MLS’ Eastern Conference, 13th overall in MLS (Knocked out in MLS Cup knockout round)
Offseason evaluation: Giliano Wijnaldum was one of the more underrated signings during the offseason for the Union, who can bring European experience to the backline, while Fafa Picault will be an intriguing American prospect to watch over.
Key player: Keegan Rosenberry – The Union struggled to keep goals out last season, largely due to injuries at the back. However, Rosenberry’s presence was a resounding bright spot, and his second MLS season could surely propel his USMNT stock further.
Coach: Jim Curtin – The Union boss has built a very strong roster both with youth and veterans, so it’s time to take the next step in 2017.
Vague 2017 prediction: Curtin and co. will be expected to reach the postseason, but they might still be a step behind the likes of Toronto, Red Bulls and NYCFC.
Record in 2016: 14-9-11 –3rd in MLS’ Eastern Conference, 5th overall in MLS (Lost in MLS Cup final on penalty kicks)
Offseason evaluation: Losing a veteran presence such as Will Johnson is definitely a significant loss, but look at the rest of this Toronto roster and say it’s not scary. Can’t do it, right?
Key player: Jozy Altidore – The only question regarding Altidore over recent years has been his health. We saw last year what he can do when he is on the pitch, especially with someone like Sebastian Giovinco playing alongside him.
Coach: Greg Vanney – It’s pretty easy when you have the most dynamic player in MLS on your team, but Vanney has built a team that can last.
Vague 2017 prediction: Expect Toronto to be a contender to win the East for years to come. Oh yeah, and they should be among the favorites to hoist MLS Cup too.
In retrospect, Keegan Rosenberry could’ve seen it as a sign of something good.
Participating in a match to help USMNT reserves stay fit during the Copa America Centenario, Rosenberry wasn’t slotted with his Philadelphia teammates; The right back was plugged in behind winger Christian Pulisic for the U.S. side.
“At first I kinda thought it was a coincidence,” Rosenberry said. “What a chance to hopefully show well. But the more people I talked to, it seemed they wanted to get a proper look at me. As the season progressed, I didn’t think too much of it.”
Still, that was one of just two experiences with the U.S. set-up. Rosenberry had not represented the Americans at any level when he was called up for a U-23 camp for college players only, listed as a midfielder, in 2015.
“I’m obviously very, very excited to even be in the discussion,” he said. “I can’t wait.”
Neither can U.S. fans eager to see how Rosenberry compares to DeAndre Yedlin and other options on the right. That’s pretty remarkable considering the right back showed up at Georgetown in 2011 at a different position.
“He was always playing as a center mid,” said Georgetown head coach Brian Wiese. “But my assistant, Zach Samol, saw him first and said he loved this kid because he’s so technical. He’s very clean, tough, quick. He tackles. He makes good decisions with the ball, and has good spring for not being a 6-foot kid, and his habits are really good.”
Wiese says Rosenberry became a right back by virtue of positional need. The Hoyas wanted him on the pitch, but had MLS prospects up-and-down the center of the park. Their holes going into Rosenberry’s freshman year were striker, center back and right back, and they filled them pretty well: Brandon Allen at striker (now with RBNY), Cole Seiler at center back (Vancouver), and Rosenberry on the right.
“At first it was a shock to my confidence because I played all my life in the middle, and I fancied myself there,” Rosenberry said. “To hear that (he’d play right back), it wasn’t the first thing I wanted to see. But then I saw the talent of the players on the team, and I thought if I could get on the field I’d play any position.”
He started every match of his four years at Georgetown and captaining the club the last two seasons. The Hoyas went to the national championship game in Rosenberry’s freshman year, and went to the third round twice and quarterfinals once in his final three seasons.
“That experience in college was so important because I felt like I was still developing physically and mentally,” Rosenberry said. “Being a captain there for a couple of years and trying to manage the personalities and egos and demands of 25 guys really helps you mature whether you like it or not, and it makes you be a leader. It was something that I really valued.”
Rosenberry and Georgetown teammate Joshua Yaro were both selected by Philadelphia in the Top Three of this year’s SuperDraft. To wind up with Philadelphia was a boon for the Harrisburg, Penn., native. Rosenberry wasn’t a member of the Union’s Academy but had trained with now head coach Jim Curtin, and he admired the boss. He was inspired to put on the shirt.
Rosenberry played every minute for Curtin’s unit this season, completing almost 300 more passes than anyone on the team. Only attack-minded players Tranquillo Barnetta and Seb Le Toux completed more key passes than the rookie.
“Going to team like Philadelphia who I was familiar with before the draft, knowing some of the staff and some of the players and where to go for training, it makes you feel like you belong and I think it helped me with the transition period,” Rosenberry said. “I’m really thankful for that.”
He admits a sour taste from bowing out to Toronto FC in the first round of the playoffs, but Jim Curtin’s Union wasn’t expected to make the postseason this season. Rosenberry was a big part of the surprise, his work earning him a nod as a finalist for the MLS Rookie of the Year award ultimately claimed by Jordan Morris.
Before the Union begin their follow-up run in MLS, Rosenberry will — barring a dramatic turn of events — represent the United States men’s national team at January camp under Bruce Arena.
Wiese sees a comparison between Rosenberry and a current USMNT player that the Georgetown coach helped recruit as an assistant at Notre Dame in 2005: Matt Besler.
There’s a natural comparison of the two players. Besler is taller, and Rosenberry a bit quicker, but both are praised for their inherent leadership and speak about the game in an analytical way.
“There’s just a real quality in both of those guys,” Wiese said. “There’s an underlying current of quality in everything they do, in terms of how they manage themselves, train, take care of their bodies, how serious they are about their approach to their craft and you’re like, yeah, of course they’re going to make it. Those are two guys you never have to ask to do anything twice. You never need to bring them into the office to chastise them for doing something off the field.”
While Rosenberry says there was a chance he’d have to fill in at center mid following deep injuries to Philadelphia’s corps, he expect he’s a right back for life right now. And he’s grateful chance put him in that position once he left his youth club, Penn Fusion, for college in Washington, D.C.
“I took it as a challenge to hone myself as a better 1v1 defender and all the traits that come with the position,” he said. “The similarities between center mid and right back might not be too far off in terms of distribution and connecting passes and whatnot. Where it’s different is getting exposed as a defender 1-on-1 and trying to deny service where in the middle you’re maybe trying to slow things down, stop counter attacks, or funnel things one way or another. Interestingly enough, I think it made me more marketable. There are 3-5 midfielders on the field at all times, but there’s only one right back. From my sophomore year on, I viewed myself as a right back.”
And U.S. fans may be viewing him there for a while. Bring on January.
2016 was a very good year for first-year players in Major League Soccer, whether they came from a strong first round of the MLS SuperDraft or were flat-out Homegrown studs.
It was another example of the depth of talent in NCAA Soccer, as even top Homegrown players like Jordan Morris (Seattle/Stanford) and Alex Muyl (New York Red Bulls/Georgetown) had their development aided in the college game.
— Top SuperDraft pick Jack Harrison took his electric season at Wake Forest and neatly transitioned into a Rookie of the Year finalist at NYCFC after being selected first overall.
— No. 3 pick Keegan Rosenberry is also a finalist after an outstanding year for the Union that could’ve earned him shouts for the top defender overall, and No. 2 pick Joshua Yaro also saw significant time for the Union and Fabian Herbers got into 30 matches as well as part of Philly’s surprising playoff run.
— Chicago’s Jonathan Campbell led the Fire in minutes, while Brandon Vincent was fourth. They went 12th and 4th in the draft.
— It didn’t stop there. It may’ve not been a surprise to see first rounders Tsubasa Endoh (Toronto) and Julian Buscher (DC United) succeed, but what about New England third round pick Femi Hollinger-Jansen?
MLS whittled its awards finalists down to three: Morris, Rosenberry, and Harrison. Aside from a lone write-in for Endoh, our staff didn’t see much wrong with the voters’ selections.
First-place votes were a little more varied amongst our staff. Rosenberry and Harrison each earned a nod, while three of us saw it the same way.
Jordan Morris is PST’s MLS Rookie of the Year.
It’s not just his American rookie record for goals, it’s that the Sounders’ 22-year-old forward improved in every part of his game in his first year as a pro (even including the use of his oft-maligined left foot).
His 12 goals led Seattle, and consider just what he had to deal with after turning down Bundesliga interest to stay in Washington:
Pegged to ease into the pro game as the third Sounders attacker, Obafemi Martins skipped town on the ease of the season to heap more pressure on the Stanford grad.
American legend Clint Dempsey underwent multiple heart procedures, only making 17 appearances.
Oh yeah, the Sounders fired another legend in Sigi Schmid.
Morris also scored six of his 12 goals on the road, never an easy achievement with Major League Soccer’s distinct home field advantage. He added four assists.
Given Rosenberry’s position, it’s difficult to imagine Morris won’t win the official MLS award as well, giving the league a decisive winner for the second year in a row.
Friday brings us the beginning of the Bundesliga season, meaning every major league will have started its season.
There are American players throughout Europe worth watching, many of them well-established with their clubs. We know plenty of Danny Williams at Reading, of Fabian Johnson at Borussia Monchengladbach, and Geoff Cameron at Stoke City.
But what about the young crowd, the ones we know a bit less about? Let’s call the group Americans under the age of 23, with 10 caps or less. We quizzed our ProSoccerTalk staff, weighted the rankings according to power, and wound up with 15 names from MLS to the PL.
Players were given one point for each mention, and a corresponding value to whether they were ranked first (10 points) or tenth (1 point) by a given writer.
PST’s Top 15 USMNT prospects
15. Joe Gyau, Borussia Dortmund (1)
The 23-year-old was about as exciting a prospect as any when he tore his meniscus against Ecuador. Now, he’s just getting back on the pitch and a loan may be on the cards.
14. Wil Trapp, Columbus Crew (3)
Of players aged 23 or younger, only one has had a better overall season than Trapp. The 23-year-old just fits on our list, and needs to find another level, but he’s going to be solid at worst.
13. Walker Zimmerman, FC Dallas (4)
The seventh-overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, the big Georgian has been outstanding this season.
12. Erik Palmer-Brown, Sporting KC/Porto B (5)
It’s easy to forget about EPB, the 6-foot-1 center back who left SKC on loan in February, but he’s gone 90 minutes in every match since making his Porto B debut in March. Juventus bid $1 million for Palmer-Brown when he was still 16, and they know a thing or two about scouting kids.
11. Rubio Rubin, FC Utrecht (6)
The 20-year-old started Utrecht’s first two matches of the season as a center forward after foot surgery cost him much of 2015-16. No one should ignore his 3 goal, 6 assist season the previous season.
10. Keegan Rosenberry, Philadelphia Union (9)
The very likely MLS Rookie of the Year has been a dynamite part of Philadelphia’s resurgent season.
9. Emerson Hyndman, AFC Bournemouth (12)
The 20-year-old just moved to the Premier League, and has yet to debut after playing out his contract with Fulham in hopes of greener pastures.
We don’t have to really say anything, do we? The 17-year-old Pennsylvania kid has made an impact at one of the biggest clubs in the world, and could be set for a loan now that BVB has added Mario Gotze, Andre Schurrle, and Ousmane Dembele.