KeyBank Match-up of the Match: Diego Chara vs. Dwayne De Rosario
MLS Cups, MVP awards, national team call-ups and more. Dwayne De Rosario has had a long and illustrious career. For Portland Timbers fans this season, seeing Dwayne De Rosario has become a uniquely frustrating and common affair.
Wednesday’s huge match between the Timbers and D.C. United (5 pm PT, ROOT SPORTS, 750 AM The Game, La Pantera 940 AM) will be the third time Portland has faced the midfielder/forward—on three different teams no less—and each previous time, he had an impact against the boys in green.
In the match against Toronto—just the Timbers’ second in their inaugural season—he sent the through ball that led to the Reds’ first goal helping them win 2-0. Three months later, after being traded to the New York Bulls, De Rosario put in the late cross that led to an inopportune handball in stoppage time and then converted the ensuing PK to steal a 3-3 draw. Given New York is, like Portland and D.C., also fighting it out for the 10th and final playoff position, those missed points are ones the Timbers would definitely like to have back right about now.
Moving from NY to D.C. in another midseason trade, De Ro sits at 15 goals on the 2011 season—tying his career high—and his name is the mix for MLS MVP. He’s nothing if not clutch having taken his well-timed goal scoring ways to United. Most recently, his 90’ conversion of a late PK against Chicago last weekend should have given them the win—if not for the Fire’s amazing comeback.
For the Timbers who face a playoff race challenge in fighting for a positive result against a D.C.-side who are equally as hungry for the very same points, Portland will have to depend on a complete team performance. Centering that endeavor is a player that has come to be the spark in the Timbers engine of late: Diego Chara. It is Chara’s ability to lead his team that brings us to Timbers soccer analyst Robbie Earle’s KeyBank Match-up of the Match.
KeyBank Match-up of the Match
Dwayne De Rosario
Diego Chara is not alone in his quest to take on D.C. United. Goalkeeper Troy Perkins, central defender Eric Brunner, fellow central midfielder Jack Jewsbury, and forward Kenny Cooper among others will all be counted upon to have standout matches Wednesday evening.
But given Chara’s position in the midfield and his ability to provide inventive flash—be it his brilliant cross-field pass to Cooper that led to his goal on the road against Vancouver or tracking back to provide one of his calling card pickpocket tackles—the Timbers will rely on his ability to play conductor towards orchestrating a complete team performance.
Chara will most certainly come into contact with De Rosario on the pitch regardless of whether United head coach Ben Olson has him in the midfield or up top at forward. While Timbers head coach John Spencer is no stranger to De Rosario’s abilities having coached him as an assistant during their overlapping time in Houston, he’s also not one to man-mark any one particular player—including the talented Canadian. Spencer will look to Chara and the Timbers to play their game collectively and in so doing focus on the impact they’re able to make of their own creation.
For a D.C. United team that has had difficulty in creating offense of late and with their backs against the wall, containing a phenomenon as dangerous as De Rosario will be daunting. But if Chara can provide a performance that helps lifts his teammates across the board, then the Timbers could pull off an exceptionally important road win.