Offseason objective No. 1 for the Seattle Sounders: Replace Kasey Keller. Check.
Objective No. 2: Re-sign Mauro Rosales. Check.
The Sounders made their entire fan base happy on Tuesday night by locking up Mauro Rosales to a multi-year contract. The Argentine playmaker arguably was the most influential player on the team during Seattle’s magical 2011 season, dishing out 13 assists and adding five goals for the Supporters’ Shield runners-up.
The former Argentine international and River Plate and Ajax man won MLS Newcomer of the Year for his efforts, and also helped Seattle win a third straight US Open Cup and advance through the CONCACAF Champions League group stage for the first time.
And Rosales did it all for a relative pittance, compensation-wise. Per league and club policy, terms of his new deal were not disclosed. But based on club officials’ previous comments of wanting to make sure the playmaker was rewarded, it’s a fair assumption he got a nice raise.
"We were always very confident of reaching an agreement," Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer said in a statement. "There was a great deal of trust between ourselves and Mauro and [his agent] Darío Sala. They put their faith in us and we wanted to take care of Mauro. He has earned this contract through his outstanding play, his dedication to his craft and his commitment to this club, his fellow players and our coaches.”
Seattle lost just three times with Rosales in the starting lineup, going 13-3-6 in his 22 starts. The Sounders recorded a 10-1-2 record when Rosales either scored or assisted. The 30-year-old’s presence was sorely missed in the MLS Cup Playoffs, when he was unable to help the team after never fully recovering from an MCL tear suffered in September.
With the 2004 Olympic gold medalist and Copa América veteran back in Rave Green in 2012, Sounders fans can look forward to more magic from their dynamic string-puller.
"Mauro was a huge impact on our team last year," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said in a statement. "He played well and made others better with his service and use of the ball. We are pleased to have him back as a Sounder."
Added Rosales, "I really am enjoying being here with the guys, with the team, with the people and the city. In the first year, I was thinking just to play, to enjoy the game, and it was a season of great joy."
It's been an active week for Seattle, who lost veterans Nate Jaqua and Pat Noonan in Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Draft, and granted Erik Friberg his request to transfer back to his native Sweden. But with Rosales now locked up and Austrian goalkeeper Michael Gspurning signed to replace retired Keller, the club has worked fast to begin to plug holes, including picking up former D.C. United defender Marc Burch in the Re-Entry Draft.