MLS Player of the Decade: Dwayne De Rosario

What should have been a difficult choice, was really a simple one. No player made anywhere near the impact on Major League Soccer in the 2000-2009 period as did Dwayne DeRosario.  The Canadian international was without question the dominant figure this decade in the league.

DeRo had a short stint in Germany, before excelling for the Richmond Kickers of the USL A-League  for two seasons. In 2001, DeRo joined San Jose and for the next eight seasons he was the signature player with the most impact on the highly successful San Jose/Houston team.

Beginning with the 2001 playoffs, where DeRo’s outstanding contributions brought San Jose the MLS Cup after upsetting both Miami in the semifinals and the LA Galaxy in the finals. DeRo’s Golden Goal in Extra Time set the tone for the Decade of DeRo.

A torn ACL limited his performance in 2003, but he was outstanding when he returned and San Jose lifted the MLS Cup for a second time in three seasons. After the clubs move to Houston, DeRo had perhaps his two best overall seasons in 2006 and 2007. Both years Houston won the MLS Cup and in 2007 were within an earshot of making the finals of the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

The game winning goal in the 2007 MLS Cup sunk New England in final for the fourth time in six years and probably clinched this award that day. The closest competition in my eyes to DeRossario, Shalrie Joseph was on each of those Revolution teams. With little competition in my mind to DeRio for this award other than Joseph or perhaps his Revs team mate Steve Ralston (who began the decade as a dominant player for Tampa Bay), the championships made the choice easy.

DeRo’s top honors for the decade included:

  • MLS Bext XI 04,05,06,07,09
  • MLS Cup MVP  01,07
  • MLS Goal of the Year 04, 05
  • Canadian Male Player of the Year  05,06, 07

Share your biggest DeRo memory of the decade with us in the comments section.

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About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

21 Responses to MLS Player of the Decade: Dwayne De Rosario

  1. Matthew N says:

    Even though he now plays for TFC (our rivals), I love De Rosario. He is by far my favorite non-American MLS player.

  2. BayVol says:

    One game that stands out to me and truly shows the importance of DeRo and his skills was when he did not even start the game. It was a CONCACAF Champions League match with the Houston Dynamo against San Francisco FC in October 2008. Game was tied 1-1 and the Dynamo needed a win to virtually ensure moving on to the knockout stage of the tourney. In the 88th minute he stole the ball from opponent, dribbled up a few meters and drilled a shot 25 yards out and froze the goalkeeper and Houston won the match 2-1. He brought excitement to the field and when he played you knew something special was going to happen. A difference maker through and through.

    • Rex says:

      This was my best as well. It was amazing. It was one of those rare times when a player takes the entire game in his hands. It was like he said “I’ve got to do something”.. and he did. From start to finish, the play was all his.

  3. Lars says:

    Don’t forgot his hatrick in the Canadian Cup, leading TFC to a 6-1 victory over the Impact in a game where they needed to win by four goals to qualify for Champions League.

    Being a witness to the Miracle in Montreal is one of the highlights in my soccer viewing experiences.

  4. sam says:

    how bout his amazing free kick vs la, one of the best ever done

  5. Rhett says:

    Kartik gets upset when people call him anti-American and unfair, but this post is probably the most obviously blatant case of anti-american or US Team bias in his history.

    Obviously for Kartik, San Jose was made by DeRossario with his funny hair and his funny accent not by Landon Donovan, the greatest US player ever and by far the greatest MLS player ever.

    Landon Donovan’s name is not even mentioned in this post. Shalrie Joseph your second choice? PLEASE. Steve Ralston? He is not even a regular for the national team and yet he’s the other choice above Donovan, our greatest ever.

    I’m sorry, but I simply cannot take Kartik seriously. If I need someone to cover Mexico, England, Grenada, Canada, Slovakia or Slovenia, Kartik is your guy.

    But we Americans who love US Soccer, realize how biased he is. He has gotten more reckless and arrgoant as time goes on and this post is just further proof.

    • Jonesta says:

      DeRo may well be the best MLS player of the decade, but you bring up a good point about this post. To not have Landon Donovan listed as even a challenger for this is a bit much. Donovan is certainly up there with DeRo as one of the best MLS players of the decade. Shalrie is good, so is Ralston, but Donovan and DeRosario are tops and from there its take your pick. This post doesn’t even mention Donovan’s name though…….Kartik, Anti-American?….Hmmm…

    • Lars says:

      Just because he tells the truth doesn’t mean you need to hate.

      Fact is he could have picked any foreign player, even if the foreign player won every single MVP award of the decade, and you’d call him anti-american for picking the guy.

      Picking De Ro doesn’t make Kartik anti-american, but you being mad about it because De Ro isn’t american makes you a xenophobe.

  6. Roogsy says:

    Dwayne’s performance as a player possessed in the Canadian championships this year where he willed a sub-par TFC to win the Voyageurs Cup will forever stand out in my memory as one of the best memories of a clutch player grabbing his team by the throat and dragging them to success. No player I have ever seen plays with his fire and intensity.

  7. Mike says:

    Good post. I would have went with Lando myself, but you make a strong case for De-Ro. As a fan of the league I always liked watching Houston and his play was very fun to watch in particular.

    Wasn’t he also MLS All Star MVP one year also? Or he scored in two straight all star games or something of note there?

  8. DCLee says:

    As an United fan my memory of De-Ro was a tough one. We had just tied TFC this past May when about 2 minutes after we scored De-Ro took the ball from about midfield and driblled about 20 yards and ripped a 30 yard firecracker past our keeper.

    Howver we did get the last laugh (or sort of) as we tied it a few minutes later to salvage a point at home.

    He is a great player.

  9. DCLee says:

    There was also his play in the all-star game win vs Chelsea in ’06, I believe to beat the Blues.

  10. Sean says:

    We all have to admit that Landon does get a little bias from the MLS. He asks for something and he gets it. I think he is good but some of his awards are (in my opinion) were gifts. I think DeRo had to earn everything he has accomplished to date. He has shown year in year out that he is a player that makes his team better. Consistent to the core.

  11. He definetly has our vote here in Mississippi. It has been a pleasure to watch him during the last 10 years! Thanks De Ro

  12. chris says:

    Are you kidding me? You think DeRo is really the player of the decade?

    Oh, wait, you’re a Canadist, and your memory of the league only goes back to ’07. Because, according to you guys, MLS was nothing until you Cannucks joined the party.

  13. Martin says:

    kartik never fails to amaze and demonstrate his hatred of anything associated with the us national team or making mls relevant.

    a total joke. derosario wouldn’t get a vote of single sane person. but kartik is not sane and simply wasting time commenting is more time than he and his type deserve.

    rot in hell a-hole.

  14. Brian Zygo says:

    Landon Donovan is one of the best players from the United States and one of the best players in MLS; however, over the past decade, Dwayne DeRosario’s accomplishments in MLS have exceeded Donovan’s in MLS over the same period of time. The biggest complaint with Kartik’s choice, it seems, is that Kartik picked a Canadian over a player from the U.S., well guess what – Well Guess what? The tale of the tape says DeRo has been the best player in MLS over the last decade, and the tale of the tape doesn’t care where he was born or where his passport is from.

    This is the world’s game and people from across the world are gonna play the game, and sometimes, people from countries other then the US are going to play in MLS and be better then MLS players born in the US. Racism and xenophobia are some of the biggest problems in European football, those components tarnish the beautiful game. Let’s not let that garbage infect the game here in the United States the way it has in Europe.

    So, if your only reason for bashing Kartik’s choice of DeRo as MLS player of the decade is because DeRo is Canadian, then I suggest, instead of making shallow xenophobic comments, you sit down, pour over the states from the best decade, and (as John Harris would say) Go Put Some Film on Bro. And then come back here and post response with a good argument as to why you think Donovan or another player was better then DeRo in the MLS over the past decade. Yeah, I know that takes some time and little work, but at least then you’ll have made a sound, solid argument, instead of just using ignorant xenophobic rhetoric that only hurts the game in the US.

  15. You are an idiot says:

    DeRosario looked good because of Donovan in San Jose. He is really a useless, over rated player.

    Donovan is the best American player EVER. DeRosario would not even approach making the US team. Nor would Joseph, who was correctly turned down by Arena. Ralston has had his chance and failed.

    This blog is getting worse all the time.

    • derosario wouldn’t get a vote of single sane person.

      Really? Then those sharing their memories on this comment thread are also “insane” I suppose.

      DeRosario would not even approach making the US team.

      You are joking, right? Who has the US had in a 9 1/2-10 role the last few years that you would take over DeRo?

      Nor would Joseph, who was correctly turned down by Arena.

      It was not Arena’s finest moment, the decision to not select S. Joseph.

      Ralston has had his chance and failed.

      This is an award for MLS PERFORMANCE, not national team performance. Ralston is a leader and is vital in everything his team does.

    • Brian Zygo says:

      This column is about the best MLS player of the decade, not the best US National team player or the best “American” player.

      If DeRo’s success at San Jose was only because of Donovan’s presence on that team, how do you describe DeRo’s success with the Houston Dynamo, which won the MLS Cup in 2006 and 2007 (don’t forget it was DeRo who got the game winning goal in the 2007 MLS Cup)?

  16. Trax says:

    There is no doubt that Dononvan is a great player, wheter Landon or Ching helped D Ro in San Jose and Houston. I am sure that is true. But I am also certain Landon was helped by Beckham. The purpose of the award is to recognise performance, sportsmenship, consistency and fairplay. On all those account, D Ro and Donovan can compete. It just so happen that when you look at D Ro’s resume it is more impressive at the moment.
    I believe we have only scratched the surface of Donovan’s potential, and that within a few years he will be the better player, (if he is not already).
    The thing is that this is a 10 year evaluation, and from 2000 to 2007 DRo defenetly had the upper hand. Yet ask this question in 2015 and Donovan might very well be my top choice.
    Especially since Donovan has been getting so much experience overseas, and his team can actually make it to the Wc, and to other big tournaments, that experience will pay up.
    For those other americans who don’t recognise DRo as a great player, just wiki his name, or look at his goals on youtube. This guy is a benchmark for soccer in MLS.

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