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DeRosario’s move raises questions

Leaving the stadium Saturday, I overheard someone say, “If Toronto FC were a soap opera, it would be a prime-time hit.”

Leaving the stadium Saturday, I overheard someone say, “If Toronto FC were a soap opera, it would be a prime-time hit.”

With the Hollywood TIFF crowd come and gone, the idea fell only on the ears of a furious few, exiting BMO Field following a 3-2 loss to San Jose. The result doesn’t mathematically eliminate them from playoff contention, but if TFC were that soap opera, the credits would be rolling.

The backdrop, in that 3-2 loss, was a TIFO display from the North End Elite supporters, who held up white flags with dollar signs on them and a giant banner that read Making Losing Seem Easy (MLSE) throughout periods of the game. The message was clear: It’s time for this club to show something more than its ability to make money — it’s time to field a team of winners.

And it was one of those winners that gave TFC another improbable plot turn. Dwayne DeRosario, after scoring the team’s first goal — a superb, curling touch that found the top right corner — celebrated by signing a mock cheque; a move he would later confirm to the press was a signal to team management that he deserved a new contract. DeRosario already makes close to the maximum allowable salary under the cap ($443,750, the maximum is $450,000) so what he essentially was asking for was to be made a designated player (DP) — a rule that allows a team to pay a player any amount more than $450,000. Each team in MLS is allowed three. At present, Toronto has two in Julian DeGuzman and Mista.

It would be hard to argue DeRosario hasn’t done enough to earn that distinction. He leads the team in goals, has a strong work rate and consistently has his boot on the end of game-changing plays. And it’s not going to cost the team any more against the cap to make him a DP, but the question is certainly the timing.

What kind of captain, as his team crashes out of the playoff contention for a fourth straight year, demands a pay raise?

There is no doubt that he has given a lot to the club. There is no doubt he’s deserving of the pay. There is, now, some doubt whether he’s the right man to wear the captain’s armband.

TFC will probably pay him what he’s worth — they can’t afford to lose their leading man in this soap opera — but there is no way he should remain a captain.

 
 
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