The Philadelphia Union were already denied a Home Grown player claim on Keegan Rosenberry (thanks, SKC), they can’t also be denied the rookie of the year award.
At this point in the season, there are two clear suitors for the Rookie of the Year award in MLS, Seattle Sounders striker Jordan Morris and Philadelphia Union right back Keenan Roseberry. NYCFC’s winger Jack Harrison has also been mentioned in discussions but he will be dinged in the voting for not playing the entire year.
Both Morris and Rosenberry are viable candidates for the award. Morris has nine goals and three assists while attempting to drag the Sounders into the playoffs with the absence of Clint Dempsey but he has had an uneven year.
Morris scored most of his goals during a scoring streak during April and May and when he isn’t scoring he tends to disappear in games. Another knock on Morris is his finishing, unlike Cyle Larin last year, when he’s in front of net there is a good chance that Morris will miss an open shot on goal.
Rosenberry is playing in a higher pressure situation in Philadelphia as a defender on a defense that isn’t very good. Rosenberry has established himself as one of the best right backs in the league as well as one of the top overall defenders in MLS.
Rosenberry has done this while playing in every minute for the Philadelphia Union which is something that no other outfield player in MLS can state. Sure Roseberry doesn’t possess the flash that Morris has nor does he receive the same hype (outside of Philadelphia that is).
But he’s also contributed on the offensive end of the pitch by scoring two goals and registering two assists. Rosenberry’s dribbling abilities have also helped the Union recycle possession in a way that most teams can’t.
Rosenberry has been as consistent as they come, registering a 6.93 WhoScored rating at right back over the course of the season. The only outside back in MLS with a higher rating than Rosenberry with at least 20 appearances is Ambroise Oyongo of the Montreal Impact who plays mostly on the left.
MLS.com has put Rosenberry back atop their Rookie Rankings saying,
With Seattle unimpressive until that late Lodeiro bailout, the Politboro recognized that #KeeganDoesWork, putting young Keegan Rosenberry atop the rankings after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Montreal: a chance created, a tackle, an interception, four clearances and four recoveries in another full 90.
What Jordan Morris is doing in his first season in the league is cool and he deserves his plaudits. But what Keegan Rosenberry is doing in Chester is something special. It’s not unusual for a rookie striker to pop up and score a few goals especially when they have the experience that Morris does but it’s almost unheard of for a rookie defender to slot in, play every game, and lockdown some of the top wingers in the league.
Rosenberry came of age in the 2-2 draw against the LA Galaxy in early May. In that game, he shut down Giovanni Dos Santos who has 14 goals and 11 assists so far while also registering his first goal of his career. That game gave Rosenberry the confidence that he can shut down anyone in his wake. He’s already parlayed that into a start in the MLS All-Star game and a Rookie of the Year award seems like the next logical step.