Last season, Adam Cann promised Union Hulk, one of the – quite literally – largest Union supporters, that he would produce #BeardStats for Keegan Rosenberry. Back then, #AmishMessi was the starting right back for the Union but he has since been traded to Colorado Rapids.
As a result, Adam never fulfilled his promise.
But I have.
Beloved by many Union fans for his local ties and abilities on the field, it was difficult to see Rosenberry go to Colorado after the 2018 season even if Philly got a lot of allocation money in return.
Now that the former No. 3 overall draft pick is returning to Philadelphia with his new team, I knew that somebody needed to resolve the still-unanswered question: How often did Keegan Rosenberry sport his spectacular beard, and is the beard one of the secrets to his teams’ success?
Year One: Whiskerless Wonder
The fresh-out-of-college Rosenberry was clean shaven his entire first season, showcasing a boyish charm that represented a friendliness off the pitch and clean play on it.
In his rookie season, Rosenberry started every regular season game and all available minutes for the Philadelphia Union after they picked him third overall in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. His performances throughout the season earned him a spot in the 2016 MLS All-Star game and helped finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting race.
So far, no beard=no problems for the local kid.
Year Two: Testing the Waters
In his second season, Rosenberry kept the clean-shaven look except for a few games where he had a light stubble. However, the 2017 season was not as nice on the pitch for #AmishMessi as he only appeared in 14 regular season games, opposed to the 35 he started in his rookie season.
Overall, the right back only appeared in six matches with light scruff, peach fuzz, stubble, or something more significant covering his face. That’s 43% of his total appearances but, importantly, Rosenberry was at least somewhat bearded for 66% of the games Philly won when he appeared. The Union went 1-3-6 when Rosenberry lacked fuzzy facial protection and 2-2-0 when he used it.
Year Three: Boosted by the Beard
2018 was another high season for the third-year as he got back into the form he showed in his debut season. What had suddenly changed to flip his performance? THE BEARD! The beard was a part of Rosenberry’s, as well as the Union’s, historic 2018 season. Rosenberry recorded one goal and three assists in the 33 matches he appeared in while the Union ended the season with 50 points, a team record.
Rosenberry leaned on the beard for support throughout the season. He changed the length and style of his facial accoutrement but kept it in some form for the entirety of the season as Philly earned their second playoff berth in three seasons.
A key note on the beard’s contribution to Philly’s success is that the team’s run of good form in August coincided with a move to a less styled and more scruffy, stubbled look.
So if the beard is so magical, why are the Rapids not in their best form at the moment? Well, I am not going to explain tactics and stats to understand the situation going on in Colorado. However, Rosenberry is having a good season for himself up in the Rockies. He has played every minute and started all of the 12 games so far this season with only one yellow card.
#AmishMessi and his beard come to town Wednesday, May 29 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
No Beard: 12-17-15
Beard: 1 goal
No Beard: 2 goals
Beard: 3 assists
No Beard: 3 assists