WASHINGTON – When Dwayne De Rosario made his run onto a beautiful ball from rookie Nick DeLeon on Wednesday night, he saw the play ending in one of two ways.
With Red Bulls goalkeeper Bill Gaudette sprinting directly at him, and defender Markus Holgersson closing from behind…
“I figured, I’m either going to wake up tomorrow wondering what happened or I’m going to put it in the back of the net,” D.C. United’s captain said after the match. “It was a play I was willing to take.”
WATCH: DeRo bags career goal No. 100
And it was a play that resulted in the Canadian forward’s 100th career regular-season MLS goal, making him the seventh player in the league’s 16-year history to accomplish the remarkable feat.
“Thankfully, I was able to put my head on it and score that goal and get my 100th off my back,” he said. “It’s surprising because I really don’t score with my head, but if I remember the times I do score with my head, they’re at the right time.”
The 12-year MLS veteran and reigning league MVP’s beautifully timed header appeared as though it would prove to be the game-winner until New York defender Wilman Conde struck a miraculous equalizer with his off foot in the 88th minute. The goal soured what would have otherwise been a far more celebratory evening in the nation’s capitol.
“For Dwayne, it’s an unbelievable feat today,” said United coach Ben Olsen. “I’m very upset we couldn’t get him a win on the day that he gets his 100th. He led by example and I thought it was a good performance from him.”
De Rosario scored his 99th career mark a week ago against Chicago, but before that went nine matches without scoring. The 34-year-old has seven goals this season after scoring 16 last year splitting time between three clubs (D.C., New York and Toronto). His highest one-season total came in 2010, when the Scarborough, Ontario, native recorded 15 with Toronto FC.
“I knew it was going to come,” he said. “You don’t get to 100 by getting luck. I knew the goal was going to come and it was just a matter of time. Hopefully I can continue to create special moments in this league.”
De Rosario mentioned another United superstar, Jamie Moreno, in the postgame press conference. Moreno scored 132 goals in a D.C. kit.
“Not a lot of people are at 100,” De Rosario said. “I look at guys that played for this club like Jamie Moreno. Hopefully I can get to where he’s at. It’s a great feeling and it’s a great honor, but I can’t do it all myself. I’ve got to congratulate my teammates that helped me.”
In this case, it was DeLeon. The goal developed when the rookie struck a ball over the top, allowing De Rosario to accelerate his run and take the risk of heading the ball by a charging Gaudette. Afterward, the Louisville alum gave his captain all the credit.
“That’s unbelievable. It’s an honor to assist his 100th goal,” said DeLeon – who scored his fifth of the season on an assist from De Rosario in the first half – adding, “The 99 before that were all him.”