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Toronto FC 2011 Top 40 Countdown: Number 18 - Dwayne De Rosario

Come on now Stefan, we're all a bit upset but there's no need to punch him.
Come on now Stefan, we're all a bit upset but there's no need to punch him.

He only played 2 games for us, he actually scored -2 goals for us this year, and yet still here he is all the way up at number 18.  Probably the most polarising player in TFC's history, as evidenced by him having the widest gap between highest and lowest rankings, and the most varied voter comments.  Mr Drama, MVP, Number 18 is Dwayne de Rosario.

Average Ranking: 19.182
Highest Ranking: 6
Lowest Ranking: 33

Duncan: 29 There's not really that much to talk about as far as on the pitch stats and impact are concerned.  He played two games, got a nice goal against Vancouver and a very unselfish assist on Javier Martina's first goal against Portland.  Then he scored three goals against us for D.C, so all in all, on the pitch he had a negative impact for TFC.  Of course, he also played the rest of the season like a man on a mission, using all the drama and slights against him, both real and perceived, as motivation to inspire himself to an MLS MVP award.  But unfortunately it's not really about on the pitch is it?  As became the case too often with De Ro, it was the off the pitch stuff that really made an impact.

In that regard, I'll at least start with a good story.  At the end of that Portland game, in what turned out to be his last act as a TFC player, he went to section 112, and took from there a black banner which honoured the death of a TFC supporter.  He took it back into the dressing room for the whole team to sign before taking it back out to the supporter's family.  A classy move and it'd be unfair not to acknowledge that De Ro certainly did a lot for fans, charities and general community work while he was here.

But, whether it's him, the old management or the new management who are to blame, and I'd say it's a combination of all three, he was at the middle of a lot of drama, and a big reason why the start of the season was so chaotic.  It goes way back to before he even officially signed with Toronto, but it was after the firing of Mo Johnston that De Rosario really started pushing his pay raise agenda, ending his 2010 season with his cheque signing goal celebration and grumbling in the media.  After a long wait with just interim management in charge, just before new year, it all exploded again with his training spell with Celtic.   Did he have permission to go or not? Denials and counter denials, accusations and counter accusations flew and the mutual mistrust just got worse and worse.

After Aron Winter, Bob de Klerk and Paul Mariner were brought in, it didn't get much better, with De Ro even going so far as to threaten to sit out unless his contract was renegotiated.  It never got that far, but the 'winning culture' that management talked about was very much undermined as we entered the season.

As I mentioned, he did score against Vancouver, but after a horrendous defeat, a 4-2 result that frankly flattered Toronto, he went on twitter to recognise not the crappy game, but the fact that his goal was the 8,000th in MLS history.  Yep, that was important.  Then the trade happened.   April 1st, and tentative 'not wanting to fall for an April fools trick' tweets began coming out, to be later confirmed, he was traded to New York with Tony Tchani, Danleigh Borman and a draft pick coming back to Toronto. 

It wasn't the end of the drama of course as arguments as to whether it was the right thing or not raged sporadically throughout the first half of the season when TFC was so poor, and were only fuelled further by his 3 goal performance against TFC and his eventual MVP award.  As divisive as he is talented, he remains the most controversial player in club history.

The next game after the trade, against Chivas USA, there were no protests, no banners or songs either for or against De Ro, I think most fans were probably just glad there was finally a resolution.  It really shouldn't have ended that way.  It should have ended with him leading the club to some team success to match his individual glory, before retiring as a Red, with one last lap of honour before an emotional and teary eyed crowd, and his name being revealed on the 'wall of honour' at the first opportunity.

It take a special kind of dysfunction to mess up the 'superstar returns to his hometown club' feel good story, and both sides provided that.  De Rosario obviously has an ego and pride to match his talent, and doesn't take disrespect lightly. TFC, whether it's intentional or not, have proven themselves masters of disrespect, so in hindsight it really isn't all that surprising that it all went wrong.  Would he have been able to flourish individually and still fit into the team under Aron Winter, without causing more disruption off the pitch?  Who knows?  It's a shame we'll never find out.

Dave: 31 His season with the club should have been over before it started. There was no real reason why the club couldn't move him before things got underway since it was clear that the whole saga was going to lead to that eventually. While he was with TFC he did manage to score 1 goal in 2 matches and then he did some lame celebration. Honestly not sure how he is this high on the list.

Keaton: 22. We all knew Winter wasn't going to give Dero the money. I'm over the trade now, but what hurts is seeing how well Dero score like a mad man for NYRB and DC. Kudos to him though. He's so exciting to watch. I just hate seeing us play him.

Peter Meraw: Only this low (15) because of leaving after 2 games. Criticized and not given the big money because he supposedly doesn't make the players around him better. I thought that was MLSE's and Winter's job but what do I know. Great to watch if only for those few short years. Ob la di, Ob la da, life goes on. Kudos for a great year and continued strong play for Canada.

Kristin: Based on talent - top 10. Based on drama? 40

James: What? Barely played for TFC, but had such a great season he deserves to be ranked this high (6).

Red Wine Roz: I'm over the drama, I wish him well.

JC_Plante: Was a cancer in the locker room, did not fit or want to fit the system

Macs_Daddy: Great talent, unbelievable ego

The Yorkies: Too much drama - but still the best Red ever

Jimmy Stone: Split Toronto fans by leaving in controversial fashion, but only upset so many because he was the clubs most talented player

Canadian Texan: I hate rating him this high (21) but he's still a great player.

Devon Taylor: Although the breakup was nasty, DeRo is still one of the best players TFC has ever had. Performed well for us, even though he was obviously mad at management. I wish his luck, except against us.

Ignirtoq: He should've never left as soon as he did, however looking at what Winter has done with the place, I fear that DeRo wouldn't belong any more. I'm still upset that the club would let a 10+ goal scorer go for so little, but also understand better now, why that happened. Deserves to be on that "wall of honour" moreso than the two names that are up there.

Blindfolded Tank Driver: Deserved better from TFC. The quintessential MLS performer.

Number 19: Doneil Henry
Number 17: Maicon Santos

Full Top 40 so far