Countdown to First Kick: 13 Can DeRo do it again?

As First Kick, presented by Dick's Sporting Goods approaches, MLSsoccer.com is marking each passing day with a different statistic, observation or talking point, setting the stage for the beginning of the 2012 MLS campaign. Be sure to check out all of the previous days here.

13 –  Goals scored by 2011 MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario with D.C. United

First, let’s dispel a myth: Dwayne De Rosario was not having a poor season when he was shipped from the New York Red Bulls to D.C. United for Dax McCarty.

DeRo’s numbers in New York were fairly consistent with what he’s produced over the course of his career when played in midfield: two goals and four assists in a tick over 1100 minutes. Pro-rate that for an entire year, and you’re looking at about five goals and 10 assists – not world-beating, but far from poor.

WATCH: DeRo buries one in the top corner

It’s also far from “Oh my, this guy’s playing like a man possessed.” Which is exactly the DeRo D.C. got.

Once he put on the Black and Red, he went on a tear for the ages, unleashing a torrent of golazos against pretty much all comers.

Free-kick from 35 yards? Check. Diving header? Check. One-timer from an impossible angle in the area? Check. Outside of the left boot to the far post? Check. Upper-90 curler from just outside the box? Check.

Game-winners. Equalizers. Icers. And seven assists, for good measure.

And what’s more, DeRo punished each of his former teams. His second game with United, he scored the game-winning goal against the Red Bulls. A couple of weeks later was when he really started going, netting a spectacular double against the Earthquakes in a 2-0 win. He topped it with a short-handed hat trick the next game against Toronto FC in a 3-3 draw.

He never got a crack at the Dynamo after his move, but judging by his 2011 performance, Dom Kinnear best have his side ready.

Whether De Rosario will keep it up in 2012 will be one of the stories of the year. He’s got help now in Hamdi Salihi and Branko Boskovic, and – hopefully – a fully fit Chris Pontius. Not to mention Andy Najar.

Another MVP? Don’t bet against. DeRo always has something to prove.

D.C. United open the 2011 season against Sporting KC at RFK Stadium on March 10.  GET TICKETS!

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WATCH: De Rosario's MVP credentials