HOUSTON, TX - JULY 15: Dwayne De Rosario #7 of the D.C. United rushes the ball up the field against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on July 15, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
His season statistics might not show it, but Dwayne De Rosario hasn't been playing as well as we'd like him to play recently. Even though De Rosario is still leading the league in assists, some of his recent performances have left us wanting more. He hasn't scored a goal since May, and was largely disappointing in both of United's two losses in July.
I was rightfully shouted down in preseason when I floated the idea of the Anti-DeRo Movement. But what if DeRo isn't DeRo anymore?
The thought crossed my mind that De Rosario may be nursing an injury that's keeping him from playing at his usual level. After all, he's been subbed out in two of our last three matches. If this was true, it would make sense for Ben Olsen to hide the injury from the media and the public. But it wouldn't make sense to play De Rosario for more than just a few minutes in the two meaningless games that they are each involved in this week. If De Rosario enters the 2012 MLS All-Star Game as only a late substitute, we may have our answer.
But I don't actually think De Rosario is injured. His recent inadequacies don't appear to be the result of any pain, fitness issues, or muscular deficiencies. His underwhelming performances in most of our last several games have instead been related to poor decisions. Like trying to take on multiple defenders alone, or shooting instead of passing, making the wrong pass, or stepping offside unnecessarily. Those mistakes are indeed disappointing, but they're also fixable.
They're mistakes that we'd seen De Rosario make in previous seasons with Toronto FC, and even last year here in D.C. When his team is behind, he tries to do too much. That was understandable in Toronto, and it was understandable late in the 2011 season. De Rosario felt like he had to try to do it all on offense because his team had so few other attacking options.
That's not the case anymore.
United's attacking options are plentiful. Not only are the scorers on United's roster numerous, they're also varied. They each offer something different. Chris Pontius has speed and an unmatched shooting accuracy. Hamdi Salihi has an uncanny ability to get in the right place at the right time to score. Maicon Santos is one of the strongest and most powerful forwards in MLS. Andy Najar, Nick DeLeon, and Branko Boskovic can all add to the attack from the midfield as well.
De Rosario isn't the only United player capable of winning games anymore. He's not the only one who can change a match with a single strike, or a single pass. I'm not about to say that DeRo should pass the baton on to Pontius at this point, but at least he should know that's he's not in this alone.