He's on Mt. Rushmore. Of this there can be no debate. Dwayne De Rosario has had one of the best MLS careers of anyone in the league's still short history, and the 36-year-old announced this week that he's calling it a career after winning championships with the San Jose Earthquakes and Houston Dynamo and after a 2011 season that saw him traded to D.C. United only to win the MVP award. His Instagram retirement announcement sums up his accomplishments about as well any anyone could:
Salute to all my fans/family who supported me throughout my #MLS career I am humbled by all your love & support. It was always a dream of mine to represent my family & community #Scarborough #Toronto #Canada to the best of my ability everywhere I played. Know that dreams come true. I'm excited for what's next with my new role in MLSE as ambassador. Again, I #salute you all. @torontofc @houstonDynamo @sjearthquakes @dcunited #NYRedBulls
DeRo always was a player whose skill and audacity often defied language, so when I polled the staff here at B&RU for their favorite memories of United's former captain, what I got back were lots of videos. This should be fun.
My favorite memory of Dwayne De Rosario is this goal for D.C. United against the Metros. Why? It was at home, it was against the Metros, the game was tied, DeLeon will probably never hit a better ball in his life, and the hilarious #thatssometro defending and goalkeeping. You know who would not have finished that? Dax McCarty.
Honorable Mention: This free kick for San Jose against Los Angeles. No explanation required.
I have plenty of favorite Dwayne De Rosario goals, including his hat trick against Real Salt Lake and the way that he put the team on his back during the 2011 season to bring them oh-so-close to the playoffs. But I think my favorite, from a history and a hilarity standpoint had to be his goal in the 2013 US Open Cup semifinal against the Chicago Fire. Sean Johnson is unable to come and claim the ball, which bounces off of Luis Silva's head; DeRo traps the ball, rounds Johnson to embarrass him again, and slots the ball home to score the first goal of that game, one that United would win 2-0. By early August of that year, the team was done. There was nothing left to play for except the Open Cup. And because of that win, because of DeRo's five goals in that tournament, United were not just another bad team who might be cursed to be bad for a couple of years. The tournament win itself, the money that it brought, and the confidence it gave the ownership in Ben Olsen was the basis for the remarkable turnaround in 2014 and the conference-leading start to this season. So thank you, DeRo, from bringing the team so close in 2012 and for making sure the team could rebuild itself even when you were no longer here.
DeRo had so many quality goals for the Black-and-Red, it's hard to keep track. But this strike against Toronto probably was his most brilliant one. It was where he sought out the embarrassment of the entire Toronto defense and found it, all in one absolutely incredible strike. Thanks for this wonderful moment, DeRo, and all the wonderful moments you brought to DC United.
I have to go with DeRo's hat trick against RSL because 2011 was really the season that I became a United fan. Picture it: I'm in college, I'm interning in DC for a semester, and I'm ready to grab a piece of the MLS fandom that doesn't exist back in Georgia. I couldn't get anyone to come with me to that DCU game, and I didn't care. DeRo gave me three goals, and all of them were beauties. (Also, bonus Andy Najar goal in that game.)
During a 2011 season where he couldn't miss anything, he played in October against the Portland Timbers as D.C. was trying for a playoff berth and fired as blind a shot as I can recall seeing for a goal, and doing it on a bum right ankle no less:
Farewell DDR, whose place as one of the best North American talents in Major League Soccer's first two decades can't be denied.
Replying late means your top choice is likely taken. So, I'll go with a different goal against the Metros: De Ro's first DCU goal. It was only two weeks after the trade that brought him to DC and sent Dax McCarty north to hell. United was being edged out of the game at the time, only for two extremely smart players - De Ro and Josh Wolff - to combine. De Ro dummied a pass from Andy Najar on to Wolff, who sent De Ro in first time to score the game's only goal. De Ro's victim on the play? Dax McCarty. It was the perfect, one-moment summation of United's history against north Jersey's sad-sack gang of losers. It also touched off a streak in which De Ro scored six straight goals for United, all against former clubs (two at San Jose, and then a hat trick against TFC).
Adam M Taylor
There are so many goals to choose from in DeRo's storied career, but I'm going another direction. My favorite memory of DeRo (not already mentioned) was his uncredited assist on Lewis Neal's (LEWIS NEAL!) Cup-winning goal at Real Salt Lake back in 2013. First off, I'm a sucker for the near-post run - it's called "the first run" for a reason! - and DeRo makes it here. Even though John Thorrington's cross is out of his reach, De Rosario makes a play for it anyway, forcing the defender's misplay and setting up Neal's finish. It's just one example of the work rate that DeRo had to go along with his vision and touch, and it's part of what made him an All-Timer.
Now it's your turn. Let us know your favorite memories of Dwayne De Rosario's superlative career.