24 Under 24: #14 Oriol Rosell, Sporting Kansas City

14. Oriol Rosell

Pos: M | Sporting Kansas City | Age: 21

After showing glimpses of what he is capable of late in 2012, Rosell has taken things up a notch this season. The 21-year-old Spaniard, who formerly played for Barcelona B, has continued to showcase an impressive combination of skill, savvy and grit from his defensive midfield position and he can add the occasional goal as well. Still, a lot of the plaudits Rosell receives are due to his high-level understanding of the game, knowing when to step in and challenge for a ball, when to sit back and contain, when to keep possession and when to jumpstart an attack. Smart and skillful.

What TDs and coaches like: "He's a pretty good technical player. Positionally, he's always in the right spots in terms of helping the team build out. He doesn't turn the ball over too often. ... I like him a lot. He’s learned his position and his responsibilities. ... He’s been brought into MLS play really well, at important moments, which has made him more confident and responsible. ... He doesn’t deliver assists, but he keeps possession well and makes good decisions. ... His defensive positioning and anticipation are great and it helps his defense take a breather. ... Really understands the needs in that position. He's well beyond his years. ... He has an extraordinary engine. He's one of the tops in the league in terms of ball recovery. He does have bite in him."

Where TDs and coaches want improvement: "Things he can't control might be his overall speed. I don't want to say he's slow, but he might be lacking in that area. ... He still has to recognize how to start transitions… He has to get better at switching the point of attack to unsettle the opposition and isolate a player on the flanks. ... Can he add some more stuff to his game offensively? Yeah, but that might detract from what he does defensively and helping them build the game, because he's further away on the field."

Opta Says: Oriol Rosell leads all players eligible for 24 Under 24 in interceptions per 90 minutes (4.4) and passes per 90 minutes (56.3) during the 2013 season.
 

Tale of the Tape
Last Year in 24U24: N/A
Castrol Index (as of 9/18/13): #74

2013 Stats
Matches played: 27
Matches started: 27
Goals: 1
Assists: 2

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