De Rosario uses captain's armband as motivational tool
Dwayne De Rosario doesn’t claim to be a shrink, but as he headedfor the sidelines in the 66th minute of Sunday’s defeat at Houston, the reigningleague MVP looked to give his team one last psychological boost. Playing a man down and facing athree-goal deficit, D.C. United desperately needed it.
In his captain’s armband, De Rosario found just the tool forthe job. Instead of temporarilyceding the captaincy to a fellow veteran, De Rosario turned to PerryKitchen – the youngest D.C. player on the field. Though to most it may come across as a move made in haste - De Rosario and Kitchen were just a few feet away from each other at the time of the substitution - the decision was actually quite far from haphazard.
“I’m giving it to a guy who we really needed to step up,” DeRosario said while explaining his choice on the Capital Soccer Show thisweek. “Hopefully other guys aroundhim will see that and take it personally and want to show that anger – orwhatever the case is – to say ‘listen I deserve this’. I’m looking for a response.”
With his team trailing by three goals, and with the club’sbest option to produce a comeback making his way towards the bench, Sundaynight wasn’t the ideal time for Kitchen to assume United’s captaincy. But most leaders don’t get tochoose the circumstances under which they take over, and Kitchen was noexception to the rule.
“I said ‘Who do you want me to give this to?’ and he told meto put it on,” said Kitchen after the match. “It’s easy for anybody to lead wheneverything is going your way, but at that point we were playing for pride. It may have been out of reach, but Ijust looked around at the guys and we knew we had to dig in.”
So did De Rosario’s bit of mental manipulation work?
The game still ended in a 4-0 defeat, but D.C.’s captain noticed an uptick from the young man left in charge.
“I think you saw his mentality change a little bit,” DeRoadded. “He started to get morestuck in and he started to get more active. He’s in the center of the park… and you just hope that the [captain’sarmband] sparks him a little more and that everybody around him follows suit.”