When FC Dallas pulled the trigger to swap fan favorite Blas Perez for experienced veteran midfielder, Mauro Rosales, the first question that was raised were "Where does he fit?" When you give up a key piece of the offense from the past few seasons, the expectations are high to get something big in return either for immediate impact or a building block for the future. At first glance, it did not appear Rosales fit into any of those categories.
But as we near the mid-way point of the 2016 campaign, it's been very clear what Rosales' role is for this club having made 13 appearances in the team's first 16 games but without a single start in that process. Rosales is very clearly this club's and Oscar Pareja's go-to from the bench, which in all honesty, is not a bad thing.
Since joining MLS back in 2011, Rosales has been primarily used as a starter for the Seattle Sounders, Chivas USA and Vancouver Whitecaps (118 starts in 142 matches). Whether Rosales can still go a full 90 at 35 is unknown, but it seems, at least for now, that Pareja wants Rosales to use his experience to either spark the team's offense (when trailing) or help close games out (when leading). Either way, Rosales is trusted to observe the match, find the weaknesses and exploit them in 20 or so minutes.
Compared to Blas
(Data and matrix provided by Squawka.com)
This isn't an entirely fair comparison as neither Blas Perez and Mauro Rosales play in the same position or have the same functions and roles with their club, but when you get traded straight up for one another, you can't help but look and wonder. At first glance it appears that both clubs have gotten good usage out of both players. Blas has settled into his super-sub role as well and has contributed nicely for the Whitecaps.
What has been incredibly encouraging is getting those 3.12 key passes per 90 out of Rosales. It's highlighting how well he's paying attention while on the bench, observing and finding the gaps and holes to set up his teammates for a chance at goal.
A key difference though is what these two players contribute against the cap. Blas is pulling in $215,000 whereas Rosales somehow clocks in only at $62,500. This kind of maneuver certainly gives Dallas the option to bring in another key player (probably a striker) to help solidify this roster. (Whether Dallas will actually do it is another topic.)
Compared to the other Mauro
This is probably a better comparison for what kind of value Rosales brings to the club. In the past few season, Dallas has struggled to find a suitable replacement for Mauro Diaz. Dallas has tried in the past to do like for like swaps, first by going with the homegrown route with Danny Garcia, then bringing in an international caliber player in Rolando Escobar. Neither contributed enough to make anyone forget Diaz and have subsequently been let go, but that doesn't seem to be the case with Mauro Rosales here.
Comparing their stats, they're almost equals when it comes to their per 90 rate. Though their playing styles differ, Dallas is still getting a very similar offensive output from Rosales when he comes on late in the game.
And when you factor in his $62,500 salary, Dallas has gotten themselves a real bargain and an incredibly reliable player to call off the bench.