Dwayne DeRosario: Quietly having a Best XI season
We've always known he's capable of magic moments (1-2-3-4), but Dwayne DeRosario is finally having a magic season. Playing full time in the midfield, he has been one of the main reasons for the Earthquakes' resurgence. The emphasis there is on "full time." After turning down a contract with Blackburn, DeRosario has played more minutes in 2005 already than any of his first four MLS seasons.
The Earthquakes lost Landon Donovan, and yet they've actually improved offensively. DeRosario is a big part of that. Playing at attacking midfielder, he's tied for the league lead in assists with O'Brien and Wolff (9, to go along with 4 goals). His success has come as part of possibly the best midfield unit in the league, with Chung and Davis/Mullan helping out the attack and Clark holding it down as the DM. When they're on, the Earthquakes play some of the prettiest soccer in the league, along with DC.
I've always thought of DeRosario as probably the best non-starter in the league. It's great to see him get a chance and run with it. Houston really has something to look forward to next year! I joke, I joke...But what's not a joke is that he has not only he been creating goals, he's doing it when it counts most. Elnino's great work on Bigsoccer shows that when weighted for importance, his contributions would rank him 7th in the league, ahead of guys like Cunningham, Gomez, and Wolff. So in my book, he's a Best XI contender.