Friday, December 12, 2008

DeRo to TFC!

The Globe and Mail is reporting that Toronto FC has acquired Canadian midfielder/striker Dwayne De Rosario from the Houston Dynamo in exchange for defender Julius James and cash. The first reaction here is that this is a pretty good move for TFC, as they were rather lacking in offensive talent for much of this year. DeRosario's versatility will also be helpful; he and Carl Robinson might look great in central midfield together, with De Rosario going forward and Robinson playing the holding role, or he could fill in up front as well. He also should have at least a couple of good years left (he's 30), and there will surely be plenty of Canadian soccer fans happy about the chance to watch him play in person more frequently. One potential drawback is that his acquisition puts even more pressure on TFC to win in the near future, rather than focusing on developing young talent. There's also probably at least a partial PR element to this; I'm sure MLSE will be very happy to have a top Canadian talent suit up for their squad. Still, it looks like a win on the football side to me; cash isn't much good if you don't do anything with it, and James hadn't overly impressed me so far. This team needed some attacking creativity, and they might just have found it. I'm sure Duane will have more on this later, so stay tuned!

Duane here. Having picked myself up off the ground...

I have some paid work I need to get to, but in the meantime a couple videos that sum up my feelings on this (Full comments now here - below the jump:

First, the reaction in downtown Toronto moments after the annoncement:

Then, the greatest goal in MLS history (and up there for one of the best ever, period. Make sure you watch the last replay of it).

OK, I'm back...

Dwayne De Rosario is about to become a star. And, when he does he will become the first Canadian soccer player to do so in his own country. If things go perfect and TFC wins a championship with DeRo scoring a couple highlight goals along the way, it’s possible that his reputation among casual fans could exceed his actual talents. He just plays that way. DeRo scores the type of goals that make soccer fans gasp and soccer haters reconsider. Although he is not a perfect player, he is an exciting player and he is perfect to be the face of the game in the country.

TFC fans had pretty much given up on this ever happening. Initially there was a feeling that MLS would find a way to get him in Toronto – the league has it’s ways – but when that didn’t happen, Houston won a championship and Toronto started selling the joint out without the hometown hero, the assumption was that DeRo was just another guy out there. Toronto may have wanted him, but want and gonna get are two different things.

Then Houston failed to win the MLS Cup this season. Surely, the thinking went, he would want to go back to Texas to finish there on top. If only he had won another title, then maybe he’d be up for a new challenge.

But, still we held out hope.

When news broke today that Houston was calling a last minute press conference the first thought that popped into my head was that it was DeRo. I actually started a thread on both Big Soccer and at the U-Sector boards where I joked that Houston was about to ship him north. I kept it light because, as you know, sports fans have to do little tricks to protect their emotions. If I joked and it didn’t happen, well, it was just a joke, right?

But, it happened. And no one really believed it. On U-Sector it went from a typical ripping the piss off-season thread to elated, jumping up and down screaming so hard it’s going to take three weeks to find the cat again joy in record time. We’re suckers, us supporters. We bitch and moan and talk about throwing them all under the bus, but give us one ounce of good news and we become hopeless romantic fools in an instant. We make Leafs fans look rational. And, we’re OK with that.

I’ll break this down from a soccer standpoint over at The 24th Minute sometime tonight, but understand that this is something that goes way beyond the scoreboard. Toronto soccer fans waited along time for a hero of our own. Pessimistic by nature, we doubted it would ever come. Although we love Jimmy B, Sutts and all the young Canadian kids (along with our imported Reds), DeRo’s different. Part of what makes us cheer for the other Canadians is that they seem just like us. Jimmy is a good guy from Newmarket that you’d have a beer with while watching the Leafs. But DeRo…he’s the guy with the flair and talent that you only wish you could be.

And in 2015 or so some kid from Toronto will burst out in the soccer world and do things that no one ever thought a Canadian would do. And when they ask him what drove him to excellence on the soccer pitch he will talk about some goal he saw DeRo score at BMO Field way back in 2009.

And the story will go on and on and on…

DeRo’s a Red! It’s a good day.

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