De Ro's not a lock to stay at TFC

Toronto FC captain Dwayne De Rosario  and  San Jose Earthquakes Chris Leitch at BMO Field in during...

Toronto FC captain Dwayne De Rosario and San Jose Earthquakes Chris Leitch at BMO Field in during MLS action in Toronto on Saturday September 25, 2010. (Ernest Doroszuk/QMI AGENCY)

GARETH WHEELER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

TORONTO - Does Toronto FC’s future include Dwayne De Rosario?

It seems like an absurd question to ask. But in conversation on Sun TV’s Casino Rama Grill Room on Friday, Toronto FC’s Captain wasn’t sure what his future at the club holds. De Rosario wants to return to Toronto FC and confirmed he is looking for a new deal. Whether he returns is not his decision to make.

“I’m looking for some more security; being that I am under two optional years, and (considering) my commitment to this team, this league, to this organization, to this city; to have a guy like me under option years, I don’t think it’s the right (way) to handle a player,” said De Rosario.

De Rosario’s contract gives Toronto FC the option to retain him or release him over the next two years. Before last season, Sun Media learned De Rosario was looking for a new three-year guaranteed contract extension. The club was reluctant to give it to him, saying he needed to have a stellar year to justify his wage demands.

Despite the dysfunction around him, De Rosario had an outstanding season, culminating with being named to the MLS Best XI. De Rosario’s play has been the only consistent in a sea of inconsistency for the past two years. It’s hard to argue he doesn’t deserve some guarantees.

Less-influential Toronto FC players have already been informed their contracts for next year will not be picked up. De Rosario’s stature gives him a little more security, but not much. There is very little loyalty in Major League Soccer.

“You see a guy like (Guillermo Barros) Schelotto and what he’s provided for the Columbus Crew and for them to not pick up his option, for me that’s a slap in the face,” said De Rosario. “He’s a guy that deserves to see out the rest of his contract and they released him, and I don’t think that’s the right (way) to treat a player; maybe that’s why they got knocked out (of the playoffs).”

Schelotto, 37, led the Crew with nine league goals in 2010 and was entering the last year of his contract. Salary had as much to do with Schelotto’s departure than anything else. It appears Toronto FC is leaving the door open for whoever takes over as general manager to show their leading scorer the exit as well.

Toronto FC naming defender Adrian Cann 2010 team MVP this past week was puzzling. No disrespect to Cann, but De Rosario scored 15 of Toronto FC’s 33 league goals, six of the game-winning variety, while scoring another eight in CONCACAF Champions League play. If De Rosario wasn’t scoring, nobody was. On a team with no attacking prowess, the captain was by far the most valuable.

His work-rate, quality, and production were all vastly superior; a good case simply cannot be made for MVP for any other player, Cann included. Named to the Best XI and not named MVP of his own team is an insult. Consider the MVP snub a kick in the you-know-what.

If snubbing De Rosario was meant to send a message for his controversial “Sign the Check” goal celebration, consider it a message need not sent. The entire incident was blown out of proportion. His actions were merely a reflection of an emotional, turbulent time at the club.

If the MVP snub represents how many at Toronto FC feel about their captain, consider De Rosario’s long-term prospects at the club cloudy at best.

And if that’s the case, consider new consultant Juergen Klinsmann unaware. Klinsmann has already called De Rosario for his take on the club and its direction.

“It was very refreshing to have someone from the organization at that level call me to ask me my feedback,” said De Rosario. “He was open-eared, he listened to everything I had to say ... and it showed me he just isn’t a face coming in here, he’s a guy that really wants to do well for this city, and a guy that wants to achieve success.”

It’s time for the narrative of whining to turn to winning at BMO Field. De Rosario is a winner. Four-time MLS Cup Champion, two-time MLS Cup MVP, and five-times among the Best XI; a resume as such speaks for itself.

De Rosario has earned the right to stay at Toronto FC long-term. Rolling over option years on his contract is no way of treating your prized asset.

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De Rosario is hosting the Official Post-Game Party and Fundraiser Sunday night at Tryst Nightclub, starting with live coverage of the MLS Cup Final at 8:30 p.m. All proceeds go to the Dwayne De Rosario Futbol Program. For more info go to deroent.com.


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