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Leg 1
11/23 FINAL
1LA
0SEA
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11/30 9:20pm
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LA
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Leg 1
11/23 FINAL
1NY
2NE
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NY
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Eastern Conference Championship

De Rosario still finding his way in NY midfield

UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – When the Red Bulls traded for Dwayne De Rosario two weeks ago, the Canadian international was hailed as the missing piece in New York’s midfield. But with no goals and just one assist in four games, DeRo's impact has not quite been what was expected.

Still, the Red Bulls aren't complaining.

“I’m happy with the way he’s playing,” head coach Hans Backe said. “I’m not looking that much at the stats. I’m looking at the way he’s linking with the midfield.”

On that end, De Rosario is more than helping the cause. Since his arrival, the Red Bulls have become the best possession team in the league. Over the past two games, he has been in the central, attacking role for the Red Bulls as the offense has exploded for seven goals. Surrounded by new players, he’s beginning to figure out how to use the speed of Dane Richards on the right wing, and the various talents of forwards Thierry Henry, Luke Rodgers and Juan Agudelo.

“To a certain degree, we’re still figuring each other out,” De Rosario told MLSsoccer.com. “And in turn, I think it is more about the other guys trying to figure me out as well.”

For most of De Rosario's career, he has been the focus of his team's attack. In Houston and in Toronto, he was always atop or near the top of the team's goal-scoring chart. But in New York, he is being asked to focus on creating chances for others as much as for himself.

“Coming into this team, I don’t have to overexert myself to carry more of a load than I should,” De Rosario said. “As you saw in training, we’re very competitive here and we’re all pushing each other. My job is to be that final link, to create opportunities for the forwards, for others pushing into the attack. That’s what I like to do, and that is what coach wants me to do.”

De Rosario rightly describes the Red Bulls training sessions as “competitive,” but it isn’t just on the field where the midfielder faces a steep test. Off the field, De Rosario has already been on the receiving end of some playful talk from Norwegian international Jan Gunnar Solli, who shares De Rosario's passion for deejaying. Solli has publicly said that he looks forward to expanding his deejay skills while in New York, and he’s already talked tips of the trade with De Rosario.

“He’s more into techno; I’m more into hip hop, old school rap, reggae, funk," De Rosario explained. "He’s definitely got some good tracks, though there won’t be a deejay battle anytime soon. But maybe we’ll come together someday, create a Red Bulls track or something, bring our two styles together.”

Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer