HOUSTON – Though he arrived at BBVA Compass Stadium as part of the opposition on Tuesday night, a fiercely pro-American crowd treated Dwayne De Rosario to a warm ovation upon his return to a city he's called his second home.
Playing for the first time in Houston in his national team’s colors, the reception he received is a clear indication the contributions in Houston with the Dynamo won’t soon be forgotten. He was traded to his hometown club Toronto FC in 2008 after helping lead to the Dynamo to back-to-back MLS Cups in 2006 and 2007 and has now found a comfortable fit with D.C. United.
“The fans here showed their support for me and I’ve got nothing but respect,” said De Rosario, who may not have been treated to the same ovation had he converted one of the two scoring chances he had in the game.
“It was nice to come back to Houston and have the opportunity for my national team against the US here. It’s always nice to come here and feel that warm reception. It was a nice feeling.”
In Canada’s 4-0 loss to Denmark on Saturday, De Rosario didn’t look quite at his best, but he put in a solid 81 minutes’ work against the US and had two of the game’s best scoring chances. Still building up his fitness, he had visibly slowed down prior to being removed in favor of Frank Jonke.
In the sixth minute, he raced after a Nik Ledgerwood cross and unleashed a left-footed shot with plenty of venom that stung the hands of US goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
He then had another chance 10 minutes after the break, getting his head to a Russell Teibert free kick only to send it just wide of the near post.
Two games in four days with Canada has really been the first major test on the knee that De Rosario injured while playing a World Cup qualifier in Panama last September. The injury forced him to miss the playoffs for D.C. United last season, but there's little doubt now for the 2011 MLS MVP.
When DeRo was posed the obligatory question about his knee’s status, he smiled, let out a small laugh and answered, “Yes, thank you, amen.”