|Dwayne De Rosario said he never wanted to leave Toronto, but that he wasn't given the respect a player of his quality deserves. (REUTERS)
On his way out following a messy early season clash with TFC’s new suits, Dwayne De Rosario was clear and concise when shown the door in April: “(Toronto) should look at how they are doing business.”
Two clubs, 15 goals and 11 assists later, De Rosario solidified himself as the most accomplished player in MLS history Friday when the league announced the DC United attacker’s 2011 MVP selection — the last piece of his illustrious decade-long career.
Topping Houston’s Brad Davis and Dallas winger Brek Shea — though it wasn’t close — for this year’s top honour, the twice-traded Canadian answered what he called “unprofessional” treatment earlier this year with his best campaign to date, securing the last laugh in what he thought was a “dream situation” at BMO Field.
“I am extremely honoured,” De Rosario posted to his public Facebook account. “I would like to thank all my fans, family, media and teammates for supporting me through the year.”
A satisfactory 2011 season picked up in late June when New York traded De Rosario’s rights for a second time to DC United. His 13 goals and seven assists in just 18 matches in the U.S. capital solidified an untouchable resume in a season that lacked any real MVP contenders.
Along the way, TFC’s leading scorer drove the dagger through Toronto’s slim playoff hopes in August when his late hat-trick rattled head coach Aron Winter and the Reds, causing supporters to question De Rosario’s TFC departure to begin with.
While his on- and off-field issues are well-documented — cheque-writing celebrations, dressing room spats and contractual disagreements — the league’s latest MVP remains the most consistent, accomplished and respected MLS player in Toronto’s short history.
And his most coveted individual award to date renews a conversation that was swallowed up when the Reds announced a pair of designated player signings over the summer — money that could have been used to restructure a deal that might have seen De Rosario end his career in Canada.
As he has always maintained ever since speaking to the Toronto Sun last spring: “I never demanded a trade; I demanded a new contract.”
A contract he never received after being deemed expendable due to antics that, in large part, can be attributed to a lack of respect for a player many keep deeming to be past his prime — myself included at one point.
It’s not to say Winter hasn’t used the aforementioned cash wisely — Danny Koevermans and Torsten Frings have shown a great deal of commitment and contribution since arriving in July.
But how can management rationalize paying two- and three-times as much for Koevermans and Frings while trading away the league’s most consistent performer over the last decade?
If it was a behaviourally issue, that’s one thing. But management seemed to announce it was purely contractual.
“We (made) a very good (contract) offer for the first three years and (De Rosario) was not happy with it,” Winter said earlier this year.
United would be wise to recognize Toronto’s mishap in offering this MVP the contract his performance has earned.