Monday, November 19, 2007

All-time great

There have been many outstanding players who have competed in Major League Soccer and several of them have led their team to MLS glory.

Houston's Dwayne De Rosario is certainly that category. He scored the game-winning goal in MLS Cup 2007 on Sunday with a timely header late in the second half. It's actually his second such goal as De Rosario scored the match-winner in MLS Cup '01.

If you were to compile an all-time MLS Best XI right now, De Rosario's inclusion would be a must.

Sometimes, you take De Rosario for granted. Other players like Christian Gomez and Landon Donovan get a lot of publicity and sometimes De Rosario is overlooked. I'll admit that I did not consider De Rosario much for my 2007 Best XI voting while I included Gomez and strongly considered Donovan.

But maybe that's because De Rosario is more about performing when the lights are on the brightest, when the stakes are the highest and someone needs to step up and perform. That seems to be when De Rosario is at his best.

De Rosario has now won four MLS Cups, a figure few others have reached. From his first one, when he came off the bench to bury the Galaxy in golden-goal extra time, to Sunday's, when before the game he was the catalyst to the defending champions' attack, De Rosario's game has improved immensely. He's got a lethal shot and produced one of the best free-kick goals I've ever seen in person when he ripped a 30-yarder against the Galaxy late in the '05 season. But he also showed his ability to finish however necessary on Sunday by whipping that header into the corner of the net.

If there is one flaw in De Rosario's game, it's clearly his post-goal celebration. That little herky-jerky chicken dance has got to go. Aside from that, though, De Rosario is hands down one of this league's all-time great players.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

DeRo may belong on an all-time Best XI, but he certainly didn't belong on the MLS Best XI for this year.

And as far as his "biggest stage" rep: I find it curious that that was only his 5th goal in playoffs? He's been in the playoffs every year since 2001 - and he's only scored 5 goals. Yes, 2 game winners in MLS Cup, which is fantastic - but let's not forget, Pando Ramirez has a game winner, also.

briguy said...

I love DeRo. All hail Dynamo.

artnsue said...

It's a shame that he won't get to experience top caliber International "meaningful" Cup games, and play against the best, he deserves it. Maybe Canada can finally eek into 2010 qualifying with US and Mexico.

jason said...

One could do worse than accompany a team to big games and then bring in the winning play. One thinks of Inzaghi at AC Milan and Italy.

I don't think DeRo should have regrets. MLS has provided him a salary and an audience that is comparable to what he'd get in Europe.

It's the middle and bottom of MLS that are paid less than the labor market at-large and lose people to communal bakeries and dental schools.

Anonymous said...

Somebody at ABC/ESPN should have asked him about what it will be like to play against San Jose in San jose next season.

He is money.

Nathan said...

DeRo definitely had an off-year this year and it is understandable that he didn't make best XI lists.

He was also marked out of large chunks of the Cup game, but clearly not enough. That's the mark of a superior player, IMHO. Contributing to the team even when the opposition is taking you out.

I was in the stadium for the 05 free kick, which was both incredibly amazing to witness live and greatly satisfying as a fan for I was a San Jo supporter at the time (losing in the opening series to LA two weeks later was a huge disappointment).

DeRo is money, even when he's not and he wasn't for large chunks of this year. Hopefully with the maturation of MLS, every team will have at least one DeRo and some will have 2-3.

Not next year though, with the salary cap only going up about $150K.

JT (Chicago) said...

I don't know about all the Houston matches but I've noticed when they play at Chicago, it seems that Houston withdraws DeRo from the main attack for long stretches to open space for other players.

I've always wondered why they don't funnel the attack through him all the time but it's hard to argue with Kinnar about any strategy.

Good that Houston is the MLS champion. They will represent the league well.

Matt Y said...

De Ro is the shit....and I do like the dance...as dorky as it seems.

No I'm not a Houston fan..DC United fan...and I've always liked DeRo.

DeRo a player that I'd have no problem paying money to watch.

siva said...

Luis, thanks for the comments on DeRo, he is my favorite MLS player to root for. He is very strong on the ball, works incredibly hard, and has a flair for the dramatic (two MLS GoY awards, and a bicycle finalist, an all-star rocket against Chelsea). Throw in his cool dance, dreadlocks, and veganism, you have a colorful star.

Weird that none of the EPL teams picked him up (I've watched enough EPL and MLS games to say that he is better than a central/attacking midfielder in a middle-of-the-pack EPL team). Too bad also that he is not a US citizen -- we could have certainly used him in Reyna's place in WC 2006 when he was HOT and Reyna was NOT.