Uri Rosell spent his fourth season in purple in 2021 after signing with Orlando City on Jan. 30, 2018 from Portuguese side Sporting CP. Along the way, the Lions re-signed Rosell a new two-year contract on Nov. 25, 2019 — a deal which just concluded after the 2021 season.
Let’s take a look at the central midfielder’s 2021 MLS season.
Injuries limited Rosell to 14 appearances (six starts) in 2021 for a total of 509 minutes played on the year. His first start didn’t come until June 22, when he began a streak of 10 consecutive games played. He then missed nine of the next 10, before playing in three of the team’s final six matches. It was the fewest minutes and starts for Rosell in his four years in Orlando. He did not score a goal or assist on one, and managed only two shot attempts — neither on target.
Rosell passed at an 88.6% success rate, but did not have a key pass or a successful cross. Defensively, he won 77.3% of his duels, and recorded 11 interceptions, six clearances, and 14 tackles. He committed 11 fouls while drawing three, and was booked three times (all yellow cards).
It’s difficult to judge a holding midfielder sometimes, but for Rosell, his best match is probably Orlando City’s 1-1 home draw against CF Montreal on Oct. 20. The 29-year-old started at defensive midfield and played 70 minutes. He attempted 49 passes and completed 91.8% of them. He finished with three tackles, two clearances, an aerial won, and two interceptions. Rosell also went two-for-two on long ball accuracy.
While it’s true that he was one of the defenders involved in Montreal’s goal off a set piece, he was not initially marking goal scorer Rudy Camacho to start the play. The visitors worked a good pick play with Kiki Struna that took Robin Jansson out of the play and the two Orlando defenders weren’t able to switch marks, leaving Rosell to mark two Montreal players. The timing worked perfectly and there was little Rosell could do — and absolutely nothing Jansson could do — on the play.
2021 Final Grade
The Mane Land staff gave Rosell a composite rating of 6 out of 10 for the 2021 season. This is down from the 6.5 that he earned in 2020 and is exactly even with his ratings during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. There was some concern on the staff that he lost his starting position in 2021 to Sebas Mendez, but that had more to do with Mendez’s emergence and continued development, as well as his ability to take advantage of Rosell’s time out of the lineup. Mendez simply played too well in the holding midfield role for Oscar Pareja to take him out when Rosell was healthy.
At this point, we’re not sure if we’ll see Rosell back in an Orlando City uniform in 2022. Despite being out of contract, the Lions are in discussions to bring the midfielder back next season. If Rosell re-signs with Orlando City, his role will likely be as a depth player behind Mendez as the central defensive midfielder. He can also spell Junior Urso in the box-to-box role when necessary. His role is clearly diminishing, as all eight of his 2020 appearances were starts, but he was more of a bench player in 2021. The concern with Rosell is his mounting injuries the past two seasons that have limited him to 14 starts in 2020 and 2021 combined. If he can stay healthy, he’s a valuable, and versatile, player to have in the midfield, but he seems more of a depth player now than a starter.