No goals, no problem
Through eight matches this season, only four players across Major League Soccer have taken more shots than D.C. United's Dwayne De Rosario. Yet for all of his 26 attempts thus far in 2012, the reigning league MVP is still scoreless. It is a situation that would frustrate most players accustomed to piling up stats as DeRo has over his MLS career, but the Black-and-Red captain couldn't - frankly - care less.
"I don't need to score," De Rosario said matter-of-factly after D.C.'s training session on Tuesday. "Everybody else is scoring and we are winning. My goals will come. The most important thing is we have other guys stepping up and scoring."
De Rosario's relaxed outlook on his scoring drought is understandable. United has gone unbeaten over the club's last six matches while those around the Canadian are benefitting from opposing defenses focusing their efforts on stopping DeRo. As New York's defenders collapsed around De Rosario on Sunday, Chris Pontius ran rampant to the tune of a hat trick. A week prior, the 33-year-old showed he can still pull off the sensational, with a bicycle-kick assist to Maicon Santos.
The bottom-line is that De Rosario is still getting it done. Just not in the way most might expect.
"He's doing a bunch of dirty work," Perry Kitchen said of his partner in central midfield. "He's getting into tackles and working his tail off to win the ball back and get other players involved. It's things like that that go unnoticed but they are a big part of scoring goals and why we are doing better on defense."
In the eyes of his boss, De Rosario's contributions are far from unnoticed. Asked if D.C. could sustain its current form without DeRo's scoring touch, Ben Olsen answered unequivocally.
"Dwayne's doing enough," United's coach said during his post-match press conference after the Black-and-Red beat New York on Sunday. "We jumped on Dwayne's back last year and said take us, take us to the playoffs. He tried and he did a pretty unbelievable job at it.
We said in the offseason, we can't rely on one guy. We need to get help around him so we don't have to rely on Dwayne."
At the end of last year's failed playoff run, it became clear that United had little choice but to rely on De Rosario. He scored or assisted on eight of D.C.'s last ten goals in 2011 as those around him failed to step up.
"That is something that we were lacking last year," said De Rosario who - with four assists - ranks third in MLS. "Guys are scoring and building more of their confidence and it's going to help us tremendously. You can't just focus on one guy on this team, because there's a lot of guys that can punish you."