TUCSON, Ariz. – The last time Dwayne De Rosario wore a Canada jersey, he was limping off the field in the dark, nursing an injured knee on a muggy night in Panama after the lights had gone out at Estadio Rommel Fernández.
Four months later, he found himself surrounded by almost an entirely new group of teammates in Arizona against Danish players who are all in midseason form. But despite a less-than-favorable outcome in Saturday’s 4-0 loss to Denmark, DeRo came through unscathed. That’s certainly good news for both the Canadian national team and D.C. United.
“Thankfully, it’s my first game back since September, so it feels good to be back out there,” De Rosario told reporters after the game. “It was still definitely a disappointing result as a competitor.”
In addition to missing Canada’s last two 2014 World Cup qualifiers with strained knee ligaments, he missed all but a half-hour of D.C.’s 2012 playoff run that ended a game short of the MLS Cup final. His club is certainly hoping that its influential attacking player returns in better condition from national team duty than last time.
After Canada’s next match on Tuesday vs. the US in his old Houston stomping grounds, DeRo heads right into preseason for United. And despite Saturday’s result, the veteran’s 62-minute shift against in-form opposition is certainly a workout that should help him get better match fitness for the upcoming MLS season.
“Obviously, fitness for me [was a challenge],” he said. “Having two midfielders checking in and out of the space all game made it tough, but it was good. That’s what I needed.”
Ever the competitor, De Rosario is the first to admit that it’s still very early in his own season, especially given coming back from long-term injury.
“There’s work to be done,” he said. “This is the first stepping stone and I’ve got to look back on the game and see what I can improve on.”