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August 24, 2016
Trying to overcome goal barriers

By Brian Trusdell
Soccer News Net Contributor

Making the statistical case

Being a defender, Keegan Rosenberry has a steeper hill to climb when making his case for the MLS rookie of the year award.

Most voters, be it fans or media, probably even coaches, administrators and players, will look at statistics to base their vote.

Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris had the early lead in the awards race, scoring four goals by early May and seven by mid-season (goals are always impressive, and soccer's most prominent statistic.) But he's scored only one since July 13.

Other reported contenders include: Toronto forward Tsubasa Endoh, who's scored two goals in 17 games and 15 starts; Chicago defender Jonathan Campbell, who's played in 22 games, including 20 starts, and scored one goal; and NYC midfielder Jack Harrison, who has three goals in 13 games, including 11 starts. Hurting Harrison was that he started the season with a fractured pelvis and missed the first three months.

Rosenberry, a relatively local kid from Lancaster, Pa., has played every minute of every game this season – the only field player in the league to do that this year (three goalkeepers have done it, too) -- and has a goal and an assist.

Helping Rosenberry's argument is that he's been a critical part to the Union's resurgence into playoff contention this season. Campbell and Morris can't exactly make the same claim.

Only six defenders have won MLS' top rookie award in 20 years, and none since Omar Gonzalez in 2009.

A plateau to get knocked off of?

Heading into Wednesday night's match at Chicago, LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena was one win short of the 200 victory plateau – and with another triumph, would become only the second manager to reach the milestone in MLS.

Of course the only other person to reach the 200-win level is Sigi Schmid, who after a 6-12-2 start this season was let go by the Sounders – despite being the only coach in the club's seven-and-a-half-year history.

Arena maybe one win short of 200 and 29 behind Schmid, but his 199-119-84 record with D.C. United, the MetroStars (Red Bulls) and LA Galaxy since 2008 gives him a .599 winning percentage, better than Schmid's .562 (228-165-13).

Academic influence

Of the 20 latest U.S. Under-17 hopefuls, 11 come from MLS teams and seven from their academies – including four from a club who has yet to play a game.

John Hackworth's squad for the Torneo de Naciones (Nations Tournament) in Mexico City comes from a group that recently trained in Utah and played Utah Valley University and the Real Monarchs, RSL's USL club.

The squad, which was to play the first of its three games Thursday, includes Andrew Carleton of Atlanta United FC who has five goals with the U-17s this year. He will be joined by Atlanta “teammates” Carlos Asensio, Christopher Goslin and Zyen Jones.

The MLS contingent is comprised of players from seven different clubs, with Atlanta sending four, LA two, and D.C., Portland, Philly, the Red Bulls and Toronto contributing one each.

This is the second tournament for the U-17s this summer after getting to the final of the AIFF Youth Cup in India in May.

Back in the groove

With five goals in three games, Clint Dempsey has led Seattle to its first streak of more than two straight wins this season. His two strikes on Sunday (including a penalty), paced a 3-1 victory over arch-rival Portland and earned him his first player of the week honor in more than two years.

Dempsey, who was last bestowed with POTW honors in weeks five and six back in 2014, has appeared to rediscover his form following the departure of Sigi Schmid as coach on July 24, hiking his goal total this season to eight.

He is the first Seattle player to claim the honor since Chad Barrett in week 11 of last year.

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