Dwayne De Rosario arrived in Washington on Thursday morning in time to join D.C. United for his first training session since being acquired from the New York Red Bulls. He addressed several subjects with the largest media gathering at a DCU practice since Charlie Davies’ arrival.
But before I share some of his thoughts, other news requires our attention:
*Left back Daniel Woolard hurt his back Wednesday and didn’t practice today. Rookie Chris Korb took his place at left back, joining a backline of rookie Ethan White, newcomer Brandon McDonald and rookie Perry Kitchen (right side).
*Davies (ankle) returned to regular training and paired with Josh Wolff up front, with De Rosario in a central attacking slot, Clyde Simms in a holding position and Andy Najar and Chris Pontius on the flanks.
*United President Kevin Payne said the team in concerned that veteran attacker Santino Quaranta (concussion) might not return this season. “We’re hoping he’ll be back, but we’ve had a history of these injuries and we know it usually takes a lot longer than expected,” Payne said.
*With the acquisition of De Rosario and McDonald, United has addressed two suspect positions. However, the club remains in the market for additional help.
“We still have some flexibility to look at other additions, and if it makes sense and we can afford it, we’ll try to make our team better,” Payne said. “We’re certainly not done trying to improve.”
For De Rosario details.....
Did you know that this is not De Rosario’s first stint with D.C. United? In 2000, when United made an offseason trip to El Salvador, De Rosario (and I believe Edson Buddle) came along as guest players. De Rosario had spent two seasons with the Richmond Kickers and was looking to move to MLS. United wanted him, but when DCU assistant coach Frank Yallop accepted the San Jose head job, DeRo signed with the Earthquakes. (Yallop’s Canadian connections played a role.)
“It’s kind of like going full circle,” he said.
De Rosario said he received no indications that the Red Bulls were about to trade him.
“It was a total surprise,” he said. “I just got a call. That’s the unfortunate part of MLS is that you can be moved at any given second without any indication. You have to go about it as professionally as you can. Thankfully, I’m going to a great job that has a lot of history, great coaching staff, good organization and good team.”
The five-time all-star appreciates the expectation surrounding his arrival.
“I embrace the pressure, I like pressure,” he said. “I’m coming here not to just fill a spot but be successful and hopefully we can start this Saturday. ... They like to play soccer, touch and move, and it’s just getting the understanding on the field and the language of play. Once we get that down pat, I’m pretty sure some positive things are going to start happening.”
Is he prepared to start Saturday night against the Philadelphia Union at RFK Stadium?
“Of course, it comes down to the coach to determine that. I feel good. I came here to make an immediate impact and hopefully I can do that come Saturday, whether that’s to start or come off the bench. I’m coming here to work my butt off and to get results.”
His impressions of the attacking players already in place?
“We’ve got pace going forward, so it’s finding them, finding the pockets, slipping them through and hopefully I can create even more space for them coming from the midfield.”
Does he see this as a long-term stay after bouncing between clubs the past two years?
“I’d like to think so. I hope I don’t get a call.” [laughter]
De Rosario will wear No. 7, midfielder Stephen King’s number. King will now wear No. 20.
“I appreciate him willing to give up the number. That’s a number I started with as a kid. [Later in his career] I went to 14 — double 7 — because I couldn’t get it at the time.”
Najar wears No. 14 for United. McDonald inherits No. 2.
After De Rosario’s first session, Coach Ben Olsen said that “he’s integrated into the group already. There are going to be some growing pains but he’s a big-moment guy.”
With DeRo’s arrival, team expectations have risen dramatically.
“It does speed it up,” Olsen said. “Our goal is the playoffs, and we’re in a position to do that.”
He cautioned, however, “it’s going to take a few weeks to figure it out.”