DeRo Traded To New York Red BullsBy: Sairax | April 1st, 2011
And there it is. It finally happened. After much frustration from DeRo about his treatment from the club and his very public airing of that frustration, it seems we have reached the end of the tether. Dwayne De Rosario has officially joined New York Red Bulls in exchange for Tony Tchani, Danleigh Borman and a First Round pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft.
I can’t say I’m surprised by the move, but hearing the news today was certainly a shock. I had heard some rumblings a couple of weeks ago about some teams being in for DeRo, but I immediately forgot about it until today. I really didn’t expect to hear about DeRo transferring to New York on the eve of a match day, and on April Fools Day no less! Still, we all knew he wasn’t happy. He had been made promises that were not kept and he felt he deserved more. So off he goes to NYRB, who, at a glance, must look the favourites to get to the MLS Cup final in 2011. DeRo will play with the likes of Thierry Henry now and with more money in his pocket, I’m assuming. In return TFC free up some cap space by losing their best player while bringing in some fresh talent. It looks to be a good move for everyone involved. And yet, I can’t help but feel saddened thinking of what could have been for DeRo at TFC.
Remember that when DeRo was signed, it was a huge deal. DeRo is one of the best players in MLS history and we managed to get the Scarborough native to come back home and play for Toronto. He had won 2 MLS Cups with San Jose Earthquakes and 2 MLS Cups with Houston Dynamo. He is the only MLS player ever to be named the MLS Cup MVP more than once (in 2001 and 2007). In short, this was a massive signing of a high-profile player who had proven himself a winner in MLS. And he was ours. A Canadian. And we got him.
His two seasons with Toronto FC could be called his greatest on a personal level. He scored 15 goals in the league last season, which was his highest tally ever in a season. In total, he scored 32 goals in 75 appearances, making him Toronto FC’s top scorer of all time. In 2009, he scored a hattrick in the “Miracle in Montreal” to lead us to our first Nutrilite Canadian Championship trophy and he led us to win the trophy again the next year. In short, he was the best player TFC have ever had and he always gave his all on the pitch. Unfortunately, his own success on the pitch did not translate to success for the club and for the first time in his career he did not make the playoffs in 2009 and 2010. The club had brought a great player, but did not surround him with similar talent.
DeRo never made things easy for himself off the pitch. He talked openly about not being given what he was promised by the management; this being what we all assume is status as a Designated Player along with a hefty pay package. With the chaos that was the TFC Front Office headed by Mo Johnston, DeRo grew increasingly frustrated with the management and their unwillingness to give him what he felt he was worth and what he felt he was due after being underpaid for much of his time in MLS after achieving so much. Then came that moment when TFC did sign a DP, only it was not DeRo, but Canadian international, Julian de Guzman. This did not sit well with De Ro and he became even more public about his unhappiness at not being paid more than someone who he felt did not contribute as much to the team as he did. He made some bad decisions like the “cheque-signing celebration” during a critical game in our 2010 season. During the offseason, there was the confusing situation of him “training” with Celtic and perhaps angling for a move overseas. It was not particularly captain-like behaviour and there was also a sense that there may be some tension in the dressing room. Things just didn’t seem to be getting any better and he was stuck in what seemed like endless contract negotiations with TFC that continued under the new management of Winter and Mariner.
Fast forward until today and now we see things a little bit clearer. Winter obviously feels confident enough in moving ahead without DeRo and perhaps he and Mariner did not see the benefit of signing him as a DP. DeRo will do well with the Red Bulls and TFC will move forward under Winter and his new style and emphasis on youth. It’s just that I can’t help but feel sad about this whole thing. DeRo could really have been a legend at this club, but because of unfortunate circumstances, idiotic management, egos clashing, and constant shape-shifting of our beloved team, he may end up being seen as just a mercenary who scored a few goals during a tumultuous period in Reds’ history. It just doesn’t seem right. I’ve gotten fed up with DeRo as much as the next fan. I even felt he should not be captain. However, I do appreciate his talent and how much he gave on the pitch. He was a winner, and still is. He wanted to win, and I’m sure it hurt him as much as it did all of us when TFC kept failing to make the playoffs. Rarely in life are things black and white. Most of the time there is a ton of grey in the middle. There are many things DeRo could have handled better, especially off the pitch. I do think that a lot of fault can be laid at the feet of Mo Johnston and his totally inept management that turned our club into a shambles and a laughingstock. If we had a proper team and a proper manager, I think DeRo could have been an important player on a successful TFC team. Instead, we have to say goodbye now with a bitterness left on both sides.
In the bigger scheme of things, this is a positive move, not only for DeRo, but for Toronto FC. DeRo has a chance at making some more money and achieving something great with a team that has high ambitions. Toronto FC have a new outlook on life under Aron Winter. His focus on youth meant that DeRo perhaps was not the best fit to the team anyway, being on the wrong side of 30. Now we bring in a bright young talent in midfielder Toni Tchani and some defensive depth in Danleigh Borman. Winter is building a squad. A proper squad. He is also encouraging our Academy products and trying to instill a sense of identity and purpose into our club. Maybe we needed to get rid of DeRo as that part of the last era that was filled with so much disappointment. It is a chance to reboot without the drama. That can only be a good thing. So on that note, I’d like to say thank you to Dwayne De Rosario for his time at the club, his performances on the pitch, and his many goals. It could have been different; it should have been different. I hope we can all recognize what he brought to the club and what he contributed rather than focus on the off-the-pitch unpleasantness. And, as with all things, I couldn’t end this post without saying one more time: when in doubt, blame Mo. Best wishes, DeRo. Roll on, TFC!
Check out this gesture from De Ro after his last official game with TFC by honouring a member of the Red Patch Boys who tragically died.
I am not sure that our new signings will be ready to play tomorrow, but one player we will be seeing on the bench is Julian de Guzman. Winter announced today that he will be fit enough to be included with the squad. Perhaps Julian had a visit with the placenta lady, because I have no idea how he went from being fit in mid April to being fit enough to maybe play tomorrow.
Also, Javier Martina’s second goal against Portland has won MLS Goal of the Week. Go back and watch it like I did. Over and over and over and over again!
Remember to check out the TFC-Chivas Match Preview before tomorrow’s game. Come on you Reds!
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