D-Ro: A whole new ball game
Dwayne De Rosario (D-Ro for short) is the creative engine of MLS Cup holders Houston Dynamo. The two-time Canadian Player of the Year took time out to talk with FIFA.com about the one-off 2007 title decider against New England Revolution on Sunday.
Far from feeling much sympathy for his long-suffering opponents and the team he helped undo in last year's final, the dread-locked skill merchant is keen on heaping more woe on the luckless Boston boys this weekend in an enticing re-match.
FIFA.com: What difference does it make, if any, that
you'll be meeting the New England Revolution in the MLS Cup
final for the second straight year?
Dwayne De Rosario: Really it doesn't change anything at all. Our mind set will be exactly the same as it would be going in to a final against anyone else. Last year was last year and now it's gone. It had its own special flavour for us, but it's irrelevant this Sunday. I'm sure New England won't be thinking about revenge, they'll just be thinking about winning the title. It's a whole new ballgame
Even though your Houston Dynamo were last year's
champions, all the talk at the start of the 2007 play-offs was
about DC United, Chivas USA and some of the other teams.
It's true. But it's nothing new. Every year we seem to be the invisible team, even back when we were in San Jose (San Jose Earthquakes moved to Houston in 2006 and became the Dynamo). It's nice going in under the radar and being other peoples' underdogs. I'll tell you this though, we don't feel like underdogs in the locker-room. We have a great set of players and we work hard for each other. The arrival of big players like Beckham and (Juan Pablo) Angel to some of the other teams shifted the focus off us a bit, but we are the champions and you can't deny that.
What makes a one-off final match like MLS Cup different
from a regular game?
There's pressure on an off the field, there's a big build up to it. The environment, the atmosphere, everything about it is different. Also as a player it gets you thinking about all the sweat and blood you put into getting to that one game - not just during the season but since you were a little kid. You respect that when you get to a final and it is always a special moment. It's like living a dream.
It looks like your star striker Brian Ching - who
incidentally scored the equaliser in last year's final - might
be out on Sunday with an injury.
Losing a player like Ching is a huge thing. He scores big goals at important times and helped us get to where we are now. But this year coach (Dominic) Kinnear had to deal with a lot of players missing due to the (CONCACAF) Gold Cup and we didn't skip a beat then. We have guys who can fill the hole and this kind of depth is refreshing. If Ching is out, we will deal with that on Sunday. But we're hoping he makes a recovery and can line up with us.
The Revolution have never won an MLS title even though
they've been to four finals and the last three in a row. Do you
fear having to face a potentially desperate opponent?
To be honest, I'm not worried about their feelings (laughs). I want to continue to be successful and they're the ones who have to worry about their record of losing finals. I have no real sympathy for them and we're not going to be worried about hurting their feelings.