D.C. United's season hangs on the brink.
On Thursday morning, the club confirmed that its talismanic captain and influential playmaker Dwayne De Rosario will be sidelined 10 to 12 weeks with a grade III MCL sprain suffered while on international duty with Canada in Panama on Tuesday.
The prognosis effectively ends the season for the reigning MLS MVP, who could be ready to come back in the third week of November given the best-case scenario of a 10-week recovery. MLS Cup 2012 will be played on Dec. 1.
“DeRo is our captain, a great player and impossible to replace,” said D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen in a statement. “With that said, we have talented players that will step up in his absence and this injury will not be an excuse to fall short of goals we set for ourselves as a team at the beginning of the season.”
D.C. United are in a desperate chase for a playoff spot, currently on the outside looking in with seven matches to go. They sit one point out of the fifth and final playoff berth in the East occupied by the Columbus Crew.
The 34-year-old De Rosario started all but one of the 26 matches he's played in for D.C. and has seven goals and 12 assists, the latter being good for second in MLS and just one short of matching a career high.
The injury is also a blow for the Canadian national team, who are still in with a chance at qualifying for the final hexagonal in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. A national team that already struggles to score goals, Canada lose their all-time leading scorer for the final two matches in Group C -- at Honduras and at home to Cuba -- that will determine their 2014 World Cup fate.
The first reactions from De Rosario came through on Twitter, where he shared the following sentiments:
Absolutely gutted, to be honest. With strong faith and perseverance I will be back wearing proudley the red&white #canmnt— Dwayne De Rosario (@dwaynederosario) September 13, 2012
To all my #DCUnited, United fans have no doubt I will soon be back. We have important games ahead and we will overcome...— Dwayne De Rosario (@dwaynederosario) September 13, 2012
“One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity” ~ Albert Schweitzer— Dwayne De Rosario (@dwaynederosario) September 13, 2012