Argentinian midfielder Mauro Rosales says he has enjoyed his first days as a member of Sounders FC - with maybe one reservation.
“Seattle is a great city,” he said. “The cold weather – no – and the rain; but after that there is not any problem for me.”
Rosales, 30, has 10 international appearances with the Argentina national team, and he spent the past three seasons with River Plate of Argentina, after stints with Ajax of Holland (2004-07) and Newell’s Old Boys of Argentina (1999-2004).
He won a championship with River Plate and said he enjoyed his time there but was ready for a change of scenery.
His first choice was the Mexican League, and he reportedly signed with Queretaro FC. However, Rosales said the club continued signing international players and finally told him that he would have to wait to join. He also seemed annoyed that the club tried to get out of the contract by saying he had failed his physical, which he denies.
However, rather than wait to play in Mexico, Rosales decided to move to Major League Soccer.
“It was not difficult to have a decision to join,” he said. “I was watching MLS soccer, and it’s great. It’s growing up year by year, and when I had a chance to come to a big team as Seattle Sounders, I had no doubt this was a great opportunity to come here. I’m enjoying this moment, and I will try to do my best.”
Rosales’ signing was announced Friday, and he made his playing debut the next day in Seattle’s 1-0 loss to New York, coming on for Alvaro Fernandez in the 67th minute.
“I thought he did all right,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “It’s a new league, so you’ve got to get your feet wet. It was difficult for him because I put him wide right, then I put him in the middle. He’s either going to be wide right or he’s going to play in the middle of midfield for us at times, so it all depends on what we need.”
Rosales said he’s comfortable in either of those roles.
And between his brief debut and his training with the Sounders, he said he has been impressed with the quality of his new league.
“They are working very hard; they have many good players,” he said. “They have fantastic emotion, especially Seattle Sounders. Great team, great players, a lot of good players through this league and it’s growing up very fast.”
As for that No. 10 jersey, previously worn in Seattle by Freddie Ljungberg and often associated with star playmakers, Rosales said not to read too much into that.
“The number 7 is what I use a lot,” he said. “It was with James Riley. If I have to take a number it was like 38 or something like that. This was available, and they give to me. There’s nothing important with number 10.”
The Sounders will train today at Qwest Field, preparing for their Friday home game against Houston. ... Forward Nate Jaqua (hip) said he expects to be available to make his season debut in that game. Meanwhile Schmid said the status of Steve Zakuani (groin) and Brad Evans (hamstring) will be reassessed today.