Philadelphia Union trade Keegan Rosenberry to Colorado Rapids in surprise move

Less than a week after Philadelphia Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner announced his first major signing with the organization, Tanner made another big splash by trading the 2018 starting right back Keegan Rosenberry to the Colorado Rapids early Wednesday evening.


Rosenberry, entering the final year of his rookie contract, is set to earn $120,000 this season. Tanner mentioned the expiring contract along with the highly-touted 21-year old Olivier Mbaizo from Cameroon waiting in reserves as two reasons Rosenberry became marketed.

Colorado agreed to send $300,000 in allocation money to Philadelphia for Rosenberry’s services. There is another $100,000 that could potentially go into Philly’s wallet in 2020 if Rosenberry meets certain performance incentive marks. However, the details of those incentives were not revealed by either club.

The initial return grants $150,000 in general allocation money along with $50,000 in targeted allocation money. The extra $100,000 in general allocation money becomes spendable in 2020.

For more on allocation money check here…..

So, after three long seasons with Philadelphia, Rosenberry became a price tag on the transfer market and was sent on his way.

The Lancaster, PA – area native was selected first overall at the 2016 MLS Superdraft in Baltimore by Philadelphia. The Union traded up to secure his rights after initially failing to claim him as a Homegrown player – a claim MLS denied.

Rosenberry was selected third, behind fellow Georgetown Hoya teammate Josh Yaro. Rosenberry, Yaro, and Fabian Herbers – the sixth pick – were set to make a big impact with Philadelphia. However, that didn’t turn out to be quite accurate. Herbers was traded away to Chicago for $50,000 back on the 9th and Yaro’s contract was declined in mid-November. What was left of the 2016 Superdraft core is no more.

As for Rosenberry’s departure, Tanner was quick to mention the move wasn’t due to an inability on Rosenberry’s part to fit his system/style of play. “This doesn’t have necessarily anything to do with the future style of play,” said Tanner. “The decision was more or less a logic decision, as we have the position covered with a very good prospect in Olivier Mbaizo, who showed us that he can play the position very well in the game against Kansas [City].”

Long-time veteran right back Ray Gaddis is also expected to be back in 2019. Gaddis’ contract negotiations are in the works and all signs are positive. The way Tanner spoke about Gaddis during the conference call with media members Wednesday made it seem very likely the veteran full-back will return.

“Ray is a very good defender and he’s quick, and he’s also good with his offensive style,” said Tanner.

Gaddis spent the 2018 season as a left-back which Tanner acknowledged as “a tough job on the wrong side.” Yet Gaddis performed well on a consistent basis. Well enough to force Tanner’s hand considering the emergence of Mbaizo for the future.

Gaddis’ defensive abilities are arguably more attractive than those of Rosenberry’s. While others may argue Rosenberry can bring more to the table offensive, Gaddis can operate well in transition. The duo have sparked many debates throughout Rosenberry’s three-year stint in Philadelphia.

Rosenberry started and played every single regular season minute his rookie season in 2016. With two goals and two assists, he earned a spot on the 2016 MLS All-Star team. He also earned his first USMNT call-up. To end his rookie campaign, he finished second in Rookie of the Year balloting and earned a start in Philadelphia’s playoff loss.

Then 2017 happened. Call it a sophomore slump or say he hit a wall. Whatever your preference, Rosenberry leveled off. And he didn’t handle it all that well. The second-year player finished the season with just 11 starting appearances. His time on the bench didn’t sit well with Rosenberry. He was suspended early in the year for posting on social media regarding his benching. His critics grew louder.

But this past season, Rosenberry showed signs of great improvement not only in ability but with increased intelligence and a steadier presence along the right flank. He finished the year with 31 starts, a goal, and three assists.

As for the future, Rosenberry gets a clean sheet in Colorado. A chance to start again and to build on what he’s learned in Philadelphia.

As for Tanner’s future? Well he still sees a glaring hole at the left back position. Matt Real, the 20-year Drexel Hill native, will miss about a month early this season due to the USMNT U-20’s appearance in the 2020 U-20 World Cup.

“We need a left back, without any question,” said Tanner. “It’s absolutely necessary to have somebody there.”

Tanner mentioned the club has targeted a player and that negotiations are in progress and looking favorable. But things change fast so there’s no telling whether a deal will come through or not.

$300,000 dollars later and Rosenberry’s time as a Union player is over. Welcome to the Ernst Tanner era.

Keegan Rosenberry could definitely be described as a fan favorite. His legacy will always be sullied by his social media slip-up and the dramatic rise and fall from All-Star to left bench his second season. He tallied an even 80 games in his three-year Philadelphia career. He became a married man as a Union player as well. You could say the Union helped raise Rosenberry a bit. Something I’m sure he’ll always remember.

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Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports