Published October 05, 2011
| Sports Network
With all the talent underachieving with Red Bull New York, 95 with D.C. United.
Dwayne De Rosario was supposedly the missing piece when New York acquired him from Toronto FC in April for defender Danleigh Borman, midfielder Tony Tchani, and a first-round draft pick in 2012.
But New York bailed on the experiment in under three months as it shipped DeRo to United for midfielder Dax McCarty in late June. At the time, the trade was lopsided, as De Rosario's credentials outweighed McCarty's.
The Red Bulls hoped McCarty would fit Hans Backe's system and that salary cap space would allow them the flexibility to sign another big player (goalkeeper Frank Rost became that man in July).
Turns out De Rosario is the missing piece - for both clubs.
New York - even with Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez - has failed to keep the hype-train chugging, as it struggles to hold onto a playoff spot in the last month of the season.
And De Rosario's United is among the teams on New York's caboose.
No player has made a bigger impact this year than De Rosario, and in just 15 games with United he has pieced together a resume that could just land him a regular-season MVP for the first time.
The Canadian international has 11 goals and five assists in just 15 games for United. Four of his goals for the club - including a hat trick against Toronto FC - were against his former teams. De Rosario has a league-high 14 goals, and also 10 assists this season.
"The thing with DeRo is that I am not even surprised anymore with some of the stuff he does," Olsen said after his hat trick in a 4-1 victory over Real Salt Lake. "I've seen it as a fan of his and I've also seen it being on the other side for ten years.
"This is what he does and this is why we wanted him."
But for all the individual accolades De Rosario is chasing, the most coveted prize would be leading D.C. United to the playoffs one season after it ended with the worst record in MLS.
United has lost two straight, but with a league-high four games remaining in the regular season, a strong finish would likely be enough to climb into the top 10 and earn a wild-card spot. With four MLS Cup titles already, De Rosario is used to playing beyond the regular season.
Should that berth come at the expense of New York, the Red Bulls will not be able live down the day De Rosario became expendable and United will never be able to forget it.
A regular-season MVP for De Rosario would just magnify the trade more. At this point, there is no player more deserving. Now it's up to De Rosario to end the debate over the final few weeks of the regular season.