It won’t be a fair judgment to say that Major League Soccer isn’t in possession of some talent. The league has seen players come in and move abroad and has helped develop them in as good a manner as possible. Diego Rossi is one such example, as the 21-year-old continues to make an impact at the top level of the United States.
The Uruguayan came to the MLS in the winter of 2018 and joined from hometown club Penarol for a fee of €2,50 million. The move came at the back of an impressive season in the Primavera Division for Penarol. The versatile attacking player had a hand in 11 goals in just 15 games in the 2017 edition of the competition. Coming into the MLS with that sort of form and potential has proved to be vital to him.
The move to Los Angeles FC came around a similar time as city rivals Galaxy brought in a big-money player in Zlatan Ibrahimovic. While there was pressure on Rossi to succeed but he has taken all of it in his stride in a rather effortless manner.
His first season in the MLS saw Rossi play 32 games in the league. He racked up an impressive tally of 12 goals and also got seven assists on the way. He was even more impressive in the US Open Cup, scoring five and assisting once in four games.
Rossi became known for his ability to cut in from the left side of the pitch, take defenders on and either create or score. LAFC boss praised his abilities in an interview some months ago and that was proof of his strengths.
He said: “Diego is such a good player to have on the field, to work with. “He’s deceptive. He’s fast. He’s also unselfish on his end.”
Fellow South American MLS player Nicolas Lodeiro had a similar sort of praise for him too. The Argentine said: “[Diego is] a nightmare for the defence because he can play as a forward or as a winger. His versatility to hit the ball and to assist his teammates makes him a very dangerous weapon.”
This past season, the pacy dribbler made 36 appearances in all competitions for the Lon Angeles-based outfit and picked his tally up from the 2018 season. He got as many as 17 goals and also racked up eight assists for the club. That is the best tally of his career, be it in the MLS or at Penarol.
The best part about Rossi’s genius is that he is very accurate with dribbles and creation. There is a very good final product to the way he plays. That benefits him in doing things right in a collective fashion.
This season, he completed 1.8 dribbles per game only, defying myths that he’s a serial dribbler who constantly takes people on. He had a tally of 1.4 key passes per game- proof that he’s as economical a creator as he’s a dribbler. He’s a very good technician and that allows him to rely on his passing ability.
This past season, he completed 31.4 passes per game- something that is high for someone who has a tag a ‘direct winger’. He had an accuracy of 82.7 percent– which is a very good number indeed. He’s kept this up since the 2018 campaign and has stuck to it in a consistent manner.
At 21, there is every chance he goes onto become a star in European football. Serie A outfit Fiorentina were keen on signing him in the summer of 2019 and had bids pegged back for the Uruguayan. Krasnodar were also interested in the winger, but a move didn’t materialise.
It is clear that the player is drawing attention from bigger clubs. His stock has clearly risen to a much higher level than it was two years ago. His approach to the game is rare, considering many players of his age still take stick for not having that final product. But Rossi has none of that. He could be well on his way to stardom.