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BREAKING: Union trade Keegan Rosenberry to Colorado Rapids

Photo: Earl Gardner

Keegan Rosenberry’s tenure with the Philadelphia Union has come to an end.

The Union traded the 25-year-old fullback this afternoon to the Colorado Rapids in exchange for up to $400,000 in allocation money.

Rosenberry, a native of Ronks, PA, started 76 games in his three seasons with the Union, contributing 3 goals and 6 assists.

The 6th pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft out of Georgetown, Rosenberry burst onto the scene in his freshman campaign. He played every single minute for the Union, earning the nod as an MLS All-Star and finishing second in the Rookie of the Year vote. Rosenberry also earned a call-up to the USMNT’s January camp, though he did not earn his first cap.

Expectations were high that the Union’s 2016 draft class, which also included defender Josh Yaro and striker Fabian Herbers, would prove to be key to the club’s long-term future. All three players have now left the club this offseason.

Rosenberry suffered through a sophomore slump in the 2017 campaign, eventually being supplanted in the starting lineup by Ray Gaddis for more than four months. Rosenberry expressed his frustration with his position in manager Jim Curtin’s doghouse with an ill-advised tweet, which earned him a suspension for the final game of the season.

The 2018 season saw Rosenberry recapture much of his rookie-season form, starting all but three matches and serving as an integral member of the Union’s young backline.

The move suggests that new sporting director Ernst Tanner may have additional acquisitions or tactical changes in mind. The only right back on the roster at the moment is 21-year-old Cameroonian Olivier Mbaizo, who made one appearance last season for Philadelphia (as well as 22 starts with Bethlehem Steel). Veteran right back Ray Gaddis is out of contract and may not return. With Matt Real currently expected to start at left back, the Union currently do not have a projected starter on defense on their roster over the age of 21.

The Union are guaranteed $300,000 in combined General and Targeted Allocation Money over the next two years in exchange for Rosenberry. If he hits certain performance benchmarks, the Union will earn up an additional $100,000 in 2020.

For Rosenberry, the move marks a turning point in his young career. With a new USMNT manager who is familiar with MLS, Rosenberry has a chance to work his way into the national team picture with a good performance in January camp (if called up) and a strong season with his new club. The Rapids, who finished third-worst in the league this year, have been active on the player movement market early in the offseason.

Rosenberry will hope that his tenure with Colorado is more successful than those of former Union players Zach Pfeffer and Sebastien Le Toux.

43 Comments

  1. This is odd.
    Right Back was the one position that we didn’t really have to worry about.

    Did l Earnst not like Keegan? Aside from his one late season benching I didn’t hear anything bad about him.

    He was making less than 200k so if this turns into 2 players of Keegan’s quality I’ll be ok with this.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Wow. Agree with Sieve! … If this is one of those trades that if it turns into something (or two things), I am totally fine with it. I suppose with Ernst here now, it’s clear he has a plan, so I’m assuming they’re gonna use that funny money. I liked Rosenberry and thought he was solid but I don’t hate the move… yet.

  2. surprising. wish him well.
    not emotionally attached to most players on this team. just want us to get better. if that means moves like this, so be it.

  3. Yes, this seems odd.
    Is this a further indication of 3-5-2? Even so, I would think that Keegan would have made good wing considering that he played in an advanced role much of the time anyway.
    I guess at least Earnst is not afraid to shake things up some. We’ll have to wait and see what he comes up with.

  4. Um… this is unexpected, and I can’t say I’m happy about it at all.

    One never judges moves in this sport in isolation, and clearly there are many more cleats to drop. But this was not a position of need. And now it is. And it’s not clear why.

  5. el Pachyderm says:

    Stunning.
    .
    I happily leave you all to figure if that’s honest or cynical.

    • My guess is honestly cynical. Well that’s a move most of us never saw coming. I’m in wait and see mode. But this is not the end of the world.

    • Well it has become clear that the Union have got themselves a genuine Sporting Director in town. Should we be shocked by this fact(move)? No. And yes. It’s the Union.
      .
      Getting one thing straight first, Jay Sugarman sucks. Like everyone else I want an owner that can and will spend with the big boys.
      .
      Moving on and dealing with the situation at hand, I think we should be pleased with what Tanner has done so far. Has he done anything word beating? No. But he’s come in and shorn off the excess fat as he sees it. There is no waiting for 2 weeks left of preseason to make decisions. As Tim has been pointing out and continues to do so, there seems to be an age cutoff of 25 as to where they believe a player’s progress has peaked. Which, since they the Union aren’t the big spenders, they really can’t afford to carry players that either won’t bring them profit in the future, or/nor will they contribute to the long term success of the team. Some players I think Ernst is stuck with, but would rather get rid of (Sapong, Haris, Accam). Selling high on a player like Keegan now not only nets the team money, but frees up space for someone else to come along.
      .
      I’m quite pleased so far with Tanner. Of course we need to see how these things turn out, but at least he’s being aggressive in a positive manner. This is what I envisioned we’d get with Stewart.

  6. I understand that there is business side to this, but there also have to certain players who are special. Keegan was a local guy who in addition to his contributions on the field (which I thought were pretty solid last year) has always been involved with the fans off the field, including public appearances and his support for his former club FC Delco (now Continental). Maybe they feel they have those “special” players with Trusty and Mackenzie?

    My oldest daughter refused to go to another Union game after they traded LeToux. Even after he returned, she refused to go back. Never been back. I have been to most of the home games since that day. My other two girls get to alternate bringing a friend to fill that open seat. My oldest, however, never returned.

    I am willing to give Tanner a chance to show us something. The fact that he has actually made early moves gives me hope. However, I don’t trust ownership. But, at some point, doesn’t a fan base’s connection to a player have to figure in the calculus?

    • They’ve made the playoffs twice in their history. There is no special guy. Tanner sold high, simple as that.

    • Nope, a fan base’s connection should NEVER factor into management’s decisions on players. When that happens you get the 2013-2017 Phillies. Fans like watching winning teams. As long as Tanner delivers a winning team, fans won’t care what names are on the back of the jerseys.
      .
      You do also realize that the players get paid to make public appearances right?

  7. OneManWolfpack says:

    By the way if you have Twitter please follow Union Hulk and watch his (or her) tribute to Rosenberry. So funny. Good Luck in Colorado Keegan!

  8. I was pissed when Curtin scapegoated Keegan and benched him for 2017. I’m even more mad that Tanner just traded him off.

    I’m willing to give Tanner the benefit of the doubt, I’ll reserve final words until we go into preseason, but this seems like a strong player for cheap to let go for peanuts.

    The way Tanner is talking, it will be a Gaddis/Mbiazo throwdown to determine who ends up at RB in March, i.e. no incoming replacement.

    • Scapegoated or no Keegan was playing like ass.

    • …And acted like one too.
      .
      The kid has an prima-donna attitude and is undisciplined on the field. It’s not a great combination.
      .
      Also, much like CJ situation last year, it only took about 30 minutes of watching Burke to see he far outclassed CJ (And as I have said many times before, I like CJ very much). And it took 10 pathetic games before a change was made.
      .
      It was the same with Mbaizo last season. When that kid is on the field it’s obvious he’s playing at a higher level than any of the other Union backs.

  9. Faith in Mbaizo?

    • I think this may be a good part of it. To my eyes Mbaizo offers a bit more than Rosenberry. Being honest, Keegan was not the best defender. He fell asleep defending on more than one occasion. I also think Mbaizo is more aggressive with a willingness to take a player on.

  10. Will withhold judgement till preseason is over. Always hard to lose a local, but we need to improve and the Rapids paid for him.

  11. Y’all gonna long for the days of Earnie very soon…

  12. Y’all will be longing for Earnie in about 4 months…

  13. Aaron Widman says:

    S0 with real ostensibly being your 2019 left back why, get rid of your most possession assured defender? There has to be moves coming and Rosenberry was susceptible to getting burned but why disrupt a YOUNG back line,

  14. Rosenberry WAS susceptible to getting burned. He did not work out in 2017 when they had to play a deep back line because Yaro got hurt. He is best in a high restraining line that seeks to possess the ball. So the move telegraphs that Tanner is going to change that.
    .
    Olivier Mbaizo is a better athlete. Bringing Ray Gaddis back as the depth piece becomes essential.
    .
    I have been expecting Sacramento to announce signing Matt Mahoney since the end of last week after they announced Skundrich. He would give the Union depth and greater positional flexibility were Tanner to keep him.
    .
    Tanner just spent a lot of funny money on Santos and has gotten some of it back for Rosenberry.
    .
    If Colorado came asking with a nice offer, Tanner chose to take it. We have no idea who initiated the contact.
    .
    Rosenberry is 25. Herbers was 25. Yaro was thereabouts. Santi Moar was 25. Chris Nanco was thereabouts, as was Adam Najem. And all season I kept getting warned that 25 was a cut-off line for Bethlehem players, except for Chambers apparently whom they had doing some coaching with the really young kids in the pre-academy. There are exceptions to the 25 age line, but it may in fact be a line.

  15. Rosenberry WAS susceptible to getting burned. He did not work out in 2017 when they had to play a deep back line because Yaro got hurt. He is best in a high restraining line that seeks to possess the ball. So the move telegraphs that Tanner is going to change that.
    .
    Olivier Mbaizo is a better athlete. Bringing Ray Gaddis back as the depth piece becomes essential.
    .
    I have been expecting Sacramento to announce signing Matt Mahoney since the end of last week after they announced Skundrich. He would give them depth and greater positional flexibility.
    .
    Tanner just spent a lot of funny money on Santos and has gotten some of it back for Rosenberry.
    .
    If Colorado came asking with a nice offer, Tanner chose to take it. We have no idea who initiated the contact.
    .
    Rosenberry is 25. Herbers was 25. Yaro was thereabouts. Santi Moar was 25. Chris Nanco was thereabouts, as was Adam Najem. And all season I kept getting warned that 25 was a cut-off line for Bethlehem players, except for Chambers apparently whom they had doing some coaching with the really young kids in the pre-academy. There are exceptions to the 25 age line, but it may in fact be a line.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Also, this is displaying with real clarity … the collegiate pathway to MLS and Steel, at least as it relates to Union, is a thing of the past.

  16. Hard to judge on its own obviously. Gonna miss him as a local guy and pretty good player. Let’s hope the other shoe drops soon and this wasn’t a condition of Sugarman spending 500k on santos

  17. Good God. Idiocy.

    I hope Keegan blossoms into a full blown star just to shove it up Curtin and the Union’s crack.

    Of all the problems his team had, he was not one.

    • Why would you blame this on Curtin?

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Is it Elvado? If there is a guy you value ready to jump into the spot who is 4 years younger and 1/2 as expensive with a competent an capable veteran RB in case things get a bit patchy… is it idiocy?
      .
      Wait, that’s right, you’re the one with nary a positive thing to say…. EVER and I am reminded the box I have for commenters like you is over by the Holiday tree in the corner of my home.
      .

      • And that is the problem. Look at whom they value. Gaddis? Fabinho?

        The Jolly Red Idiot is still coach but we should trust management’s judgment. As I told my rep today, if I had not already paid for my tickets, I would cancel.

        This ownership group and management have zero credibility with me.

    • If Keegan, a RB, is the Rapids STAR player……that says everything right there. The Union conceded 50 goals last season. Those weren’t all on Trusty/McKenzie’s inexperience either…..
      .
      Rosenberry is an average to above average MLS defender, who also happens to get caught out of position. Was it really a coincidence that Rosenberry slumped in 2017 when he wasn’t playing with Vinny Nogs, Barnetta, Dockal, Bedoya (at the No. 8), and a mostly healthy Ilsinho on the wing?

  18. 300-400k in AM ain’t much. MLS doesn’t really have a WAR stat but you have to think they’re hard pressed to do better with that little amount. Mmmaybe Mmmbaizo is better, but we all know Gaddis wasn’t. Real wasn’t ready for prime time last season, so if they go 3 in the back with Trusty/McKenzie/Elliot and Real/Mbaizo as wingbacks, there’s just Fabinho signed as depth. There’s a month before they go to Florida but this team looks weirder and weirder. Too young in the back, old in the middle and no ones sure what we have up top.

  19. Liked him as a player, but this is professional sports in a salary cap league. If Tanner thinks he can take that $300-400k and improve the club overall, I’m all for it.

    I look forward to seeing what other moves Tanner makes this winter.

  20. Don’t love this move as I always liked Rosenberry. If Gaddis is our starting RB then I hate this move. If Mbazio is then I can live with it.
    .
    I still contend everyone is getting ahead of themselves assuming our base is going to be a 3-5-2 next year. The club has literally never said that and only said they wanted more flexibility in formation than what Earnie demanded.

  21. This is not going over well with the fanbase. On Reddit, the temperature seems to be one of outrage and panic. Lots of people thinking $300,000 is “getting fleeced.”

    I liked Rosenberry, but $300,000 is a fair price. I’m not sold that Mbaizo/Gaddis is sufficient, but I do like that Tanner is active and building this squad BEFORE it begins to train.

    • Ah yes, all the brainiacs on Reddit. WHY didn’t Tanner check with THEM first!?
      .
      Roseberry wasn’t a lock down right back (not even close actually), had a bit of an attitude issue, and they were able get plus value for him while he still had it.
      .
      SWIPE. Next man up.

  22. One thing I didn’t see mentioned that is also of consideration:
    It was the last year of Rosenberry’s current contract, which was also his rookie one.
    .
    .
    Perhaps negotiations were not going well. Perhaps they do not wish to allocate the salary raise he may be due at the right back position given plans at other positions. Lots of things behind the scene could also be of consequence.

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