Player of the Week

Player of the week: Keegan Rosenberry

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Never in Union history have a pair of draws been so well received as last week’s matches with LA Galaxy and Montreal Impact.

In both matches, the Union fought back from deficits to earn crucial points against formidable foes, showing a desire to win that was missing from the last three or four iterations of the side. The standout performer from the pair of matches is, fittingly, a player who is brand new to this edition of the Union — and to MLS entirely.

Keegan Rosenberry’s Union career may have started inauspiciously, what with the team’s Homegrown claim on him denied and the team subsequently trading up all the way to number 3 to select him, a much higher position than any pundits believed he merited.

All the Pennsylvania native has done since then is wrestle the starting right back position from the team’s 2015 minutes leader, play every minute of every game so far for a team fighting for first place in the Eastern Conference, and own the right side of the field with such authority that he’s being mentioned for future U.S. national team duty.

Rosenberry was the best player on the pitch against the Galaxy, a match which also featured the rookie bringing the Union level with his first professional goal in front of a rapturous home crowd. Against Montreal, Rosenberry was the most polished member of a backline that settled down after the initial Impact assault.

On offense, Rosenberry seems to have chemistry with every player, and they all trust him with the ball. It was a true pleasure, late in the second half against the Galaxy, to watch Rosenberry and Ilsinho scythe down the right side of the Los Angeles defense. Defense was supposed to be Rosenberry’s weakness, but as Matthew Doyle points out his one-on-one defense last week was spectacular in his own right.

It’s tempting to get carried away with young players, and there’s no doubt that Rosenberry has growing pains ahead of him. But he’s already earned the respect of the Union’s most accomplished player. Tranquillo Barnetta has played for three World Cup teams, in some of Europe’s best leagues, and he’s seen his fair share of young defenders over a long career. His postgame comments about Rosenberry (and his backline buddy Josh Yaro) are illustrative of what the rookie has brought to the pitch:

They are so young, they have maybe 10 games here in this league and still they play like old guys, and that’s incredible. And, still, they keep working, it’s not that they think now that they do a good job.

“Playing like an old guy” — that’s just about the best possible compliment you can give a rookie defender.

In any year where Jordan Morris didn’t exist, Rosenberry would be the runaway rookie of the year for the entire league.

For now, though, he’ll have to settle for PSP’s Player of the Week Award.

Honorable Mention: Sebastien Le Toux’s assist on Sapong’s goal against Montreal was a true thing of beauty and another example of how Le Toux has somehow managed to remain a valuable contributor on a team that many felt had passed him by. Great moment for Philly’s favorite Frenchman.

Author’s Note: Hello, Union Pundits. I’m going to be handling the Player of the Week profiles going forward. As I was writing this, it occurred to me that I don’t actually know what the physical “PSP Player of the Week Award” should look like. Is it a piece of paper with the recipient’s name written in crayon? The trophy that kids in U-10 soccer get for participating? A solid gold sculpture of a rocket, seemingly destined for the Sun, with a “LAUNCH CANCELLED” banner underneath? You tell me what you think in the comments below.

6 Comments

  1. I think it should show a player in Blue & Gold pulling some distraught fan away from The Cliff of Union Despair.

  2. Zizouisgod says:

    Hey, I play like an old guy too!

  3. I love all sun rocket references. Please make this happen. Just a subtle reminder of what we never want to devolve into again

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