WASHINGTON — Eight games into the season, the 2011 MLS Golden Boot and MVP, Dwayne De Rosario, was without a goal for D.C. United. The Canadian international was racking up the assists for teammates, but the results for the Black-and-Red were mixed – with just three wins from those eight games.
HIGHLIGHTS: DC 3, TOR 1
But since his first goal of the season against Houston on April 28, De Rosario has regained his scoring form, lifting his season total to five goals with a brace against Toronto FC on Saturday night in a 3-1 win.
“Whether I’m scoring or not is not a big concern,” De Rosario told MLSsoccer.com after the game. “Of course I like scoring, it’s what I do, but I go to win. If it takes me scoring and stepping up, then I’ll take the chance. But what’s important is that we are playing as a team.”
Despite De Rosario’s comments, the results have taken a dramatic turn for the good for United since his first goal arrived. De Rosario -- who has been utilized as both a forward and a midfielder by manager Ben Olsen this season -- has hit a hot streak of late, scoring five goals in his last six appearances. During that stretch United has won four and lost two. Those wins have helped the side climb up the rankings in the Eastern Conference, where they currently sit in second place.
On Saturday night, De Rosario scored in the 1st and 43rd minutes against his former employers, Toronto FC. The Canadian outfit have yet to pick up a point in the league this year.
Although it looked like United would cruise in the second half, Toronto had ideas of their own and began to pile pressure on United, which culminated in Danny Koeverman’s goal in the 71st minute.
“There were a lot of shaky moments. We were in trouble [in the second half],” Olsen told reporters after the game. “They get that goal, and I thought we were in some trouble. It was going to take a goal to make us respond on a day like that. At 2-0, everyone is tired, we are just defending, and grinding it out and dodging bullets here and there. And the goal woke us up.”
GOAL: DeRo adds second before HT
However the unrest TFC’s goal caused didn’t last for long, as just two minutes later Hamdi Salihi restored United’s two-goal advantage after Andy Najar’s mazy run set up the Albanian striker.
With a healthy two-goal cushion United held firm and were rarely troubled in the final 15 minutes of the match.
“When they scored that goal they were back in the game for sure,” United defender Daniel Woolard told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “Luckily we responded really well, and scored within a couple of minutes. That put the dagger in them, and gave them no chance. When we have been scored on this year, there seems like there is a switch, and we go and get another one.”
The win for United is their seventh of the season and their second in a row, after a comfortable 2-0 midweek win over Colorado. But while the team is beginning to find its grove on the field, De Rosario warned against complacency with a tilt against New England looming next weekend.
“It’s good to play with confidence,” De Rosario said. “It’s a good mentality to have, but we can’t get complacent and comfortable right now.”