Rosales, FC Dallas look to stay on SCCL road to Club World Cup

FC Dallas midfielder Mauro Rosales (pictured) is currently competing in his third career Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League. (Photo: Mexsport)

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – FC Dallas midfielder Mauro Rosales knows more than a little something about playing in the world’s top club tournaments.

After all, he has competed in the UEFA Champions League with Ajax, the Copa Libertadores with River Plate, and multiple editions of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League with the Seattle Sounders and currently as a member of FC Dallas.

For the Argentinean, the sensation of taking the field against an international opponent never gets old.

“All are exciting and playing against the champions around Central America and all of America with the teams that I’ve played with before – with Seattle (Sounders) we got to the semifinals against Santos – it is competitive and exciting to be here,” Rosales told after a training session Wednesday at the Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores. “[Guatemala] is a new country for me to come and play. Obviously, for us, it’s a good opportunity to get through the group. It’s a place where we wanted to be.”

On Wednesday, FC Dallas (1W-2D-0L, 5 points) will square off against host and Guatemalan champion Suchitepequez (1-2-0, 5), with the SCCL Group H title and a place in the quarterfinals at stake. The sides are level atop the table on five points, but the MLS power needs only a draw to progress on either greater number of goals scored or head-to-head away goals tiebreakers.

“It is going to be tough,” said Rosales, who has played in 164 regular-season MLS games. “It is a fight all the time. We all have expectations and we all want to get through. Whenever you represent a club like FC Dallas, MLS or your national team, you always have to do as best as possible.”

The 2016 campaign has already been a long, but fruitful, one for FC Dallas. It captured the U.S. Open Cup crown with a 4-2 win over the New England Revolution last month and currently has the best record in Major League Soccer (17W-8D-8L, 59 points).

Now as Dallas is perched on the precipice of advancing to the SCCL quarterfinals for the first time, Rosales appreciates the efforts of the club to help manage the demands placed on the players.

“The group and the staff that are in charge, the head coach, did an excellent job on rotating players and getting the players fit to face any type of game,” he praised. “Traveling to play in CONCACAF, the [U.S.} Open Cup and in MLS…it is tough…but they have handled it in the best way.

“We’ve been playing in three tournaments at a time. The team is a little tired at this moment, but very focused and we want to represent FC Dallas and MLS in the best way possible, and try to get the result tomorrow.”

Despite all the travel, games and training sessions, Rosales says that FC Dallas still has its eyes on the ultimate prize in club football.

“As players, we know how important it is to play CONCACAF because with 10-12 games, you are in the Club World Cup,” he finished. “Everyone wants to be there and knows how exciting it is. We see Club America participating in the last one, we see Pachuca and it is a place where we want to be. Why not us? It’s exciting to be close in this one and try to get through.”

If there’s anyone who knows what it takes to achieve that objective, Rosales is certainly the right person to ask.