De Rosario: Missing playoffs again "tough to swallow"

WASHINGTON — For most of the second half, it was quite clear that D.C. United midfielder Dwayne De Rosario wasn’t operating at 100 percent. With pain in his right shin, he labored through the final 45 but still managed to score in D.C.’s 1-1 draw with Portland.

“I’ve actually been kicked in the same spot about three games in a row now, and at halftime I didn’t think I would be able to make it,” he said after the game. “Sometimes you just have to suck it up and play for your team and that’s what I tried to do.”

But it wasn’t enough. The result eliminated United from playoff contention, and De Rosario took that consequence personally.

“Another year for me that I’m not going to make the playoffs,” he said. “It’s tough to swallow, to be honest.”

The Canadian international has won four MLS Cups in his career: two with San Jose in 2001 and 2003, and two with Houston in 2006 and 2007. But he has now missed out on the postseason three years in a row. He spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons with Toronto FC, both years failing to reach the postseason. He started this season again with Toronto then was traded to New York in April before being acquired by D.C. in June.

“It was disheartening,” De Rosario, whose career-high 15th goal pushed him into the lead in the Golden Boot race. “But it isn’t [disheartening] in the sense that we showed some fight. It was another learning opportunity for a lot of us. We’re happy that the supporters stuck with us through the whole game, which means a lot to us as players.”

Kitchen at D-mid

Right back, center back, holding midfield. For Perry Kitchen, it doesn’t matter where he plays, just as long as he’s on the field.

On Wednesday night, with the club in a do-or-die situation, head coach Ben Olsen entrusted the 19-year-old with the starting spot at defensive midfield in place of Clyde Simms.

“I think I was put in there to just try to keep the game connected, I know it got a little crazy at the end with everybody pushing numbers forward,” Kitchen said after the game.

His performance drew rave reviews from Olsen.

“It’s exciting to have him in this organization,” he said. “He’s a big-time player and he’s got a huge heart. It’s really nice to see him play.”

Travis Clark covers D.C. United, college and youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com.