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DeRo ready to live the ‘dream’ with TFC
March 19, 2009, 7:23 AM
Filed under: Dwayne DeRosario, Toronto FC

It’s the moment that Dwayne De Rosario has been looking forward to ever since he came home.

Traded to Toronto FC from the Houston Dynamo in December, the veteran midfielder is set to make his regular season debut for the Canadian club when it opens the 2009 Major League Soccer season on the road against the Kansas City Wizards on Saturday.

When he was officially unveiled as a Toronto FC player in January, De Rosario, a native of Scarborough, Ont., called it “a dream come true” to have the chance to play for his hometown club.

The dream will finally become a reality when he takes to the field against the Wizards on Saturday, which can’t come soon enough for De Rosario.

“I’m really looking forward to it. We did the hard work in the pre-season, and now the real challenge begins,” De Rosario told reporters this week. “Starting off on the right foot is important for the team and for our confidence. Playing K.C. away from home would be a great place to get three points and start the season on the right foot.”

Considered one of the top players in MLS history, De Rosario, who turns 31 in May, has scored 51 goals during his eight seasons in the league and is a three-time all-star. He also has a proven track record of success, having won MLS championships with the San Jose Earthquakes (2001 and 2004) and Houston (2006 and 2007).

Toronto has failed to make the playoffs during its first two seasons in the league, but De Rosario is confident he can help turn the Canadian team’s fortunes around and lead it to the post-season.

“That’s why I came here. I didn’t come here to relax in my hometown. I came here to do one thing and that’s to win. If I don’t do that, I’m not satisfied, regardless on how many goals or assists I get. My objective is to win,” De Rosario stated.

Thus far, De Rosario has been impressed with his new teammates, especially with the level of camaraderie between the players both on and off the field.

“It’s a hard-working group,” De Rosario said. “Off the field we have a good laugh but on the field it’s strictly business, and it’s important to have that balance, especially when things aren’t going your way.”

Offence needs boost

Scoring has been a problem for Toronto FC. In 2007, its first season in MLS, the team had the league’s worst offence with 25 goals in 30 games. Last season, Toronto managed 34 goals — a slight improvement, but not enough to prevent the club from finishing last in the Eastern Conference with a lowly 9-13-8 record.

Welsh midfielder Carl Robinson, voted Toronto FC’s MVP in each of the first two seasons, believes De Rosario and Argentine striker Pablo Vitti (another off-season acquisition) will help to revitalize the team’s offence and attacking options.

“Dwayne is a fantastic attacking player. He scores goals.… We expect him to help us out in attacking third of the field. He wants to win and he’s an intense guy,” Robinson said.

De Rosario is confident he can make a difference, but he also warned that fans shouldn’t expect the team to score a slew of goals right away.

“We have a lot of new guys; guys who can create and score goals, which is important. It’s getting a chemistry going, and I think we’re starting to build that now.… But it’s going to take a little bit of time,” De Rosario said.

After the Kansas City game, Toronto visits the MLS champion Columbus Crew on March 28, before hosting Seattle Sounders FC in its home opener on April 4 (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 3:30 p.m. ET).

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