WASHINGTON – There’s little doubt D.C. United captain Dwayne De Rosario was pressing.
Since his brace on May 19 against Toronto FC, he hadn’t scored in eight matches despite taking 23 shots.
It appears, however, that after missing United’s 2-1 loss to Kansas City with a shoulder injury, the 34-year old Canadian has returned with a newfound energy.
De Rosario broke through to score his 99th career MLS goal (and sixth of the season) in Wednesday’s 4-2 victory against Chicago and may be rounding into form just in time for D.C.’s upcoming stretch of three matches in eight days, part of a five-match, two-week gauntlet.
“It’s a long season and this is crunch time, where every team is picking it up a gear and we need to do the same, especially me,” De Rosario said after Wednesday’s victory. “I’m one of the main leaders of this team – me and Wolffy [Josh Wolff] – and we take a lot of responsibility on ourselves when the team doesn’t perform.”
GOAL: DeRo breaks slump against Union
The middle contest of United’s busy stretch comes Saturday against Montreal at Saputo Stadium (4 pm ET, watch LIVE online) where fifth-place United (12-8-4, 40 points) will face the team directly beneath them in the standings.
If De Rosario is able to capture the form that made him the 2011 MLS MVP, United should be in good hands. Against Chicago, he attempted seven shots (four on goal), scored a goal and assisted another. After accepting an assignment as playmaker in the midfield against Philadelphia last Sunday, De Ro was shifted back up top by United coach Ben Olsen for Chicago.
He was pleased with the results.
“Dwayne was back and we fed off his energy,” Olsen said. “I think he senses that this team needs him now and the team needs him to be great.”
De Rosario appears to enjoy playing in the fall. Last season he scored five goals and assisted three more in September, and in 2010 scored six goals in September and October.
While D.C. have had immense success at home (8-1-4 this year), they've struggled on the road (4-7-0). Montreal’s (11-13-3, 36) atmosphere should provide a good test for a side that was emotionally torn following the draw against Philly, then uplifted by a victory against the Fire.
The two-day turnaround simply adds intrigue to the matter at hand, though midfielder Branko Boskovic and center back Emiliano Dudar should be fresh after serving a one-match suspension Wednesday.
“[Montreal] are another team that’s confident right now, that’s been playing well of late, and we’ll be going into a tough environment,” De Rosario said in a statement released by the club. “We’re looking forward to the challenge. Our road record hasn’t been that good, but we’re looking to change that. Hopefully we can bring that same mentality that we had against Chicago to Montreal.”
As far as how quickly goal No. 100 will follow his 99th?
“My focus right now is wins and if I have to score to help my team win, so be it,” De Rosario said Wednesday. “Right now, I’m just looking at working hard and for my team.”