VANCOUVER, B.C. – When the Vancouver Whitecaps traded for Mauro Rosales last week, it wasn’t just for what the creative midfielder can do for Carl Robinson’s young squad on the pitch, but also for the experience and knowledge that he can impart off it.
With the Whitecaps short on experienced heads in their squad at this critical time of the season, the four-year MLS veteran was already making his presence felt during his first training session in Vancouver on Wednesday, spending extra time working one-on-one with 19-year-old striker Kekuta Manneh.
"Just trying to be helpful is a thing that always works in this time of my career," Rosales told reporters afterwards. "I've been on this side, just being young and spending the right energy on the field – and he has a lot of energy. [Manneh] has a lot of quality in his feet, he just needs some advice, then he decides in the field.
"It's not just him, everybody on the field just needs to be organized, just needs to be in a good shape to face these games, these important games. I'm just trying to be with them and see what they're going to get in games and also in training."
Rosales saw firsthand the impact that Manneh can have on games when he’s in full flow and his confidence is high, playing the full 90 minutes for Seattle in Vancouver’s 4-1 win over the Sounders last October, a game where Manneh bagged a hat trick. Rosales hopes he can work with Vancouver’s young strikers to the benefit of everyone.
"It'll be good if I'm close with them and can share my experiences of what I did with my last teams. It's just something that I've done for the last 10 years and he's just started now doing it. Just some movement that's going to help him be ready to face that situation in the games. He will be much better for just having more space and just being ready for any ball that us offensive playmakers can have. It's another option with him just being in a good position."
- Catch more 'Caps coverage at WhitecapsFC.com
The Whitecaps have been creative for much of the year, but have often struggled with putting those chances away. With the addition of Rosales to compliment the talents of Pedro Morales, Vancouver’s creativity is expected to be turned up a notch – but with no goals in three of their last four matches, the Whitecaps’ stuttering attack needs help and Manneh is glad to receive it from Rosales.
"He's a different kind of player," Manneh told reporters about Rosales. "He's more of a playmaker. Very tactically disciplined and technically very good with the ball. I was working with him, just showing me some of the movements, how to create space for myself. I think it's great to have him in the locker room."