Chivas USA midfielder Mauro Rosales driven to help his new team move up the standings in 2014

CARSON, Calif. -- Knowing he can be an integral part of a franchise turnaround, Mauro Rosales has fully embraced his move from a perennial title contender to turbulent Chivas USA.

Following a successful three-year stint with the Seattle Sounders, the 33-year-old midfielder knows the Rojiblancos face a difficult road to reach the playoffs, but is motivated to make an impact with a new club.

“I’m very happy to be here and help in whatever way the team needs me,” Rosales told reporters earlier this week ahead of Chivas USA’s season opener against the Chicago Fire (Sunday, 3 pm ET, UniMas). “My past is in Seattle, but this is a nice step for my career. I’m excited to be able to help another team.

“The best part of the situation is that things haven’t gone well in the past and we have the opportunity to change things. I can be a positive piece for this franchise.”

The Argentina native scored 12 goals and had 34 assists in 86 games with the Sounders before Chivas USA acquired him and Seattle’s No. 13 allocation ranking in exchange for Tristan Bowen and the No. 2 allocation ranking. He led Seattle with eight assists last season.

That playmaking ability is something the Goats have lacked.

“He’s been one of my favorite players to watch over the last few years in MLS,” goalkeeper Dan Kennedy told reporters. “He’s really a special, special player and you could see it in training and certainly in games. He’s a different class. Last year, I’m not sure how many set-piece goals we scored, but this year we’re going to add a few more to that number.”

Head coach Wilmer Cabrera anticipates Rosales and other newcomers to be a positive influence given the “good history on their shoulders,” and some of the younger players have already sensed those vibes.

“He’s a leader,” right back Eric Avila told MLSsoccer.com. “With all the experience that none of us have, he’s a difference maker. We need someone like him who can take charge of the game. It’s great to have him on the team.”

Rosales admits the club faces a long and difficult process, especially with the looming resale and rebranding, but he’s driven by the challenge.

“I love to win,” Rosales said. “We’ve got to learn from everything, though, to get to the playoffs. That would be ideal. It’s not easy in this league because there’s parity, but our goal is to be among the best this year.”