Dwayne De Rosario takes milestone goal in stride

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Once Dwayne De Rosario watched his header settle in the back of the net, he strutted through his trademarked “shake-and-bake” celebration, like he has so many times before. After stashing the historic ball on the bench, he shared a moment with coach Ben Olsen, acknowledged the fans chanting his name and pointed his hands skyward.

In the 68th minute of D.C. United’s 2-2 tie with the New York Red Bulls at RFK Stadium on Wednesday, De Rosario became the seventh player in MLS history to score 100 goals, joining Jeff Cunningham, Jaime Moreno, Landon Donovan, Ante Razov, Jason Kreis and Taylor Twellman.

It’s a milestone that has been a popular topic for discussion since mid-May, when the four-time MLS Cup champion scored goals Nos. 97 and 98 in a 3-1 win against Toronto FC. Last week, No. 99 came in a 4-2 triumph over the Chicago Fire.

Now, it’s one less thing for De Rosario to check off the list.

“I got my 100th off my back,” De Rosario said. “That’s pressure I never really tried to put on myself. I know the media has been putting it out there: ‘When is De Ro going to score his 100th?’ I just try to focus on working hard for my team and getting a win.”

Ultimately, United (12-9-5) walked away from Wednesday’s match disappointed with the result following Wilman Conde’s 88th-minute equalizer for the rival Red Bulls.

Referring to De Rosario, Olsen said, “I’m very upset we couldn’t get him a win” — a sentiment widely shared in the D.C. locker room.

Such is the respect for De Rosario, who since being traded to United from New York last summer has compiled 20 goals and 19 assists in 43 games, scooping up last year’s Most Valuable Player trophy along the way.

“De Ro is a legend in this league,” said center back Dejan Jakovic, who also plays with De Rosario on the Canada national team. “He can do it so many ways. He can set you up, he can score, left, right. Every club he’s gone to, he’s had success scoring goals, and we’re very lucky to have him.”

Added forward and assistant coach Josh Wolff: “It’s a credit to his career. Obviously, he’s moved around a bit, but he’s put up great numbers and been an electrifying player along the way.”

In discussing the honor, De Rosario brought up Moreno, a United legend who retired in 2010. With 133 goals, Moreno is the second-leading scorer in league history, one tally behind Cunningham.

It’s territory De Rosario has his sights on. While the veteran is 34 years old, he has only improved with age, reaching double-digit goals each of the past three seasons.

Last year, his career-high 16 strikes led the league.

It won’t be long before De Rosario gets a shot at No. 101: United return to the field Saturday at Real Salt Lake (13-10-4) in the club’s last contest before a two-week break to accommodate World Cup qualifying matches.

“Not a lot of people are at 100,” De Rosario said. “You look at guys who played for this club like Jaime Moreno, a guy I always admired in this league, and hopefully I can get to where he’s at and continue to score goals.”

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