Despite recent form, Seattle's Rosales still playing with pain

Mauro Rosales greets Sigi Schmid

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SEATTLE — Don’t be fooled by Mauro Rosales.

Following his team’s 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, the Seattle Sounders midfielder said that although he scored the game-winning goal, he’s still working his way back to the form that put him in the MVP conversation last season.

“I’m building my own fitness in the games,” Rosales told MLSsoccer.com. “When we get victories like that, the confidence gets high.

“But I still cannot play without pain, and I have to get shots before the game because it is really hard to play,” he added. “I’m really looking for the game that I can play free of pain and build up my fitness.”’

After suffering a knee injury in the season opener, Rosales has now started the Sounders’ past three games, which have been played over the course of just eight days. In successive matches, he’s logged 51, 74 and 82 minutes.

WATCH: Rosales opens 2012 account

“It’s there where I have to get my fitness, playing, getting duels, battles,” said Rosales, who also missed most of the Sounders’ final five games in 2011 with a knee injury. “In the training, everyone knows I’m hurt so they aren’t going to press me. But in a game, I can get the real level that I need to get ready.”

Just having Rosales back on the field has made a significant difference for the Sounders, who have scored eight of their 11 goals in the four matches he's played this season. The Sounders offense has also looked far more fluid when the Argentine is on the pitch, and he’s now contributed an assist and a goal in his last two times out.

“I think that everybody who has seen us the last couple of seasons knows how important Mauro is to our creative side of the game,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said.

The Sounders return to action on Wednesday night at FC Dallas (8:30 pm, watch LIVE online).

Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.