This morning, midfielder Dwayne De Rosario became D.C. United’s fourth league-wide MVP in franchise history, and their third in six years. “De Ro” as he’s known to United’s fans, was a shot in the arm for the struggling club when he was acquired from the New York Red Bulls in June, and in 18 games, scored 13 goals and had seven assists. Across three clubs, De Rosario had 16 goals and 12 assists on the season and became the first MVP in North American sports to score with three separate teams in a season.
While some would say that no player that didn’t lead his team to (and perhaps through) the playoffs would deserve that honor, anyone who saw United before De Ro and after, would disagree. De Ro was the field captain that United needed to make a playoff push, and push they did, right up until the end. De Rosario is under contract through the end of next season, though it’s expected they’re rework the deal to keep De Ro well past that mark.
While for most people the arrival of March means looking ahead to whether the Nationals and Orioles will lose 95 or 97 games, for others, it beckons the start of the season for D.C. United, the most successful franchise in Major League Soccer.
Entering their 16th season of play, one of the charter members of the league and four-time MLS champion United have much to look forward to as the 2011 campaign begins on March 19 at RFK Stadium against Columbus. After winning the MLS Supporters’ Shield (given to the team with the best regular season record) in 2006 and 2007, the Black and Red have fallen off the last three seasons, with 10th place finishes in 2008 and 2009, before ultimately bottoming out last year with a 6-20-4 record, settling them firmly in last place.
The excitement for 2011 comes with the first full season under head coach Ben Olsen. After the release of Curt Onalfo as head coach following a 3-12-3 start, Olsen took the reins of United and turned the team around considerably, finishing the season with a still-disappointing 3-8-1 record, but enough of a turnaround was shown that team management felt it appropriate to retain Olsen. Not included in the record was a Cinderella run to the semifinals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, a tournament open to nearly all American professional, semi-professional, and amateur clubs. Olsen, 33, nicknamed “The General”, had an illustrious playing career for D.C., scoring 29 goals in 221 games for the Black and Red, as well as suiting up for the United States national team 37 times, including seeing action in the 2006 World Cup. Continue reading →
Saturday’s matchup against fierce rival New England Revolution marked the home opener for D.C. United. Unfortunately for United, Kenny Mansally decided to personally rain on the opening parade. Last Saturday’s disastrous opener in Kansas City behind them, United came out of the locker room looking like a new club. In the first half, they managed to keep ahead of the usually potent New England offense with some offensive production of their own. Unlike last Saturday, United was able to keep things moving on offense, putting together some possessions that were respectable.