United make MVP De Rosario club's highest-paid player
Dwayne De Rosario won’t need to break out his imaginary checkbook anytime soon. D.C. United made sure of that.
D.C. announced on Monday that De Rosario had signed a new contract keeping him in the nations capital following negotiations that stretched throughout the offseason. According to sources close to the team, the deal makes the 2011 MLS Most Valuable Player the club's highest-paid player, though De Rosario will not count as a Designated Player because allocation money was used to pay down the deal. Per club and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The 33-year-old striker, who also spent time in Toronto and New York in 2011, arrived in the nation’s capital in late June and immediately grabbed the reins to United’s attack, scoring 13 goals and contributing seven assists in black and red and 16 goals and 11 assists overall to win the MLS Golden Boot.
“Dwayne proved last year that is he is the best player in Major League Soccer and we are pleased to have signed him to a deal that will see his stay in DC extended beyond 2012,” general manager Dave Kasper said in a statement. “He is the centerpiece of our team – both on the field and in the locker room – and we are thrilled he’ll be wearing our colors for years to come."
All indications were that negotiations were progressing steadily and amicably throughout the offseason, as both sides made their intentions known early on and put together a deal that worked for both parties.
“It’s nice to be with an organization that has the same goals and ambitions as I,” De Rosario said in a statement. “D.C. United has a very rich history and one that we want to relive in the near future – hopefully we can start this year.
“It’s a great feeling to be associated with the United family. Ever since I came here, the organization and the fans have accepted me as part of the family, and I want to keep this family growing all across the DC area and relive those special moments.”
United rebounded from a dreadful 2010 in Ben Olsen’s first full season at the helm, finished seventh in the Eastern Conference (9-13-12) after finding themselves within striking distance of the MLS Cup Playoffs late in the year.
With a return to the postseason in mind, the club added numerous pieces in the offseason, most notably signing Albanian striker Hamdi Salihi as a Designated Player and Argentine center back Emiliano Dudar. The club's other DP, Branko Boskovic, has also recovered from a knee injury and should take some of the pressure off De Rosario in 2012.
D.C. United open the regular season on March 10 against Sporting Kansas City at RFK Stadium.