SEATTLE — There will be several key players missing from the Seattle Sounders starting lineup in their 2013 season opener on Saturday vs. Montreal (10:30 pm ET, MLS Live), none of them more important than Osvaldo Alonso.
The defensive midfielder is serving a suspension after receiving a second yellow card for badgering the referee in the aftermath of the Sounders’ Western Conference Championship loss to the LA Galaxy that ended their 2012.
Based on recent comments by Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid, the most likely replacement appears to be Andy Rose. Coming off a year in which he played more than 1,800 minutes and picked up four goals and four assists across all competitions, Rose doesn’t seem phased by the prospect of replacing a player of Alonso’s quality.
“Any time I step onto the field, I’m going to play my game, I’m my own player,” Rose said. “If my name is called, I’m ready to go and I’m excited if the opportunity comes. There’s no other Ozzie Alonso. He’s a special player and an important part of this team. But I’m a competitive player, I want my minutes as well.”
Rose is also well aware that this may be his best chance to make an impression. Not only will Alonso be back from suspension after this game, but Rose will also be competing with the likes of Brad Evans and, eventually, Shalrie Joseph.
“When you play for a big club, there are going to be big-name players coming in and it’s a great opportunity for me to learn from,” Rose said when asked about Joseph in particular. “He’s one of the best midfielders MLS has ever seen. He’s kind of taken me under his wing a little bit, talked to me about his game and my game. I picked up a lot from Brad and Ozzie last season, there’s no reason I can’t pick up more from him his game and add them to mine as well.”