D.C. United will not pick up the third-year option of top scorer and 2011 MLS Most Valuable Player Dwayne De Rosario, the Washington Post's Steven Goff reports.
De Rosario struggled through a terrible 2013 season with D.C. United, with the team winning only three games en route to, statistically speaking, the worst record in MLS history. The Canadian forward joined D.C. United part way through the 2011 season in a trade with the New York Red Bulls that sent midfielder Dax McCarty in the opposite direction. The forward was an instant hit at RFK Stadium, scoring 13 goals in 18 MLS appearances through the remainder of the 2011 season - a performance that earned him the MLS Golden Boot and the league's MVP award despite D.C. United's failure to make the playoffs.
De Rosario signed a two-year contract extension with D.C. United before the 2012 season, with a team option for a third season that the club declined on Wednesday. He continued to be the focal point of the team's attack after signing the new deal, contributing seven goals and 12 assists in the 2012 campaign before suffering a knee injury on international duty with Canada that kept him out for the vast majority of the end of the season. Despite that, United progressed to the Eastern Conference finals where they lost over two legs to the Houston Dynamo.
The 2013 season was an especially rough one. With United losing games at a record rate, De Rosario's playing time diminished. A bright spot came in the U.S. Open Cup, where De Rosario was the team's top scorer as they improbably captured a piece of major hardware in an otherwise miserable season.
De Rosario's two-year contract paid him a $600,000 base salary, around twice that of the club's next-highest earners Chris Pontius ($330,000 base salary) and Dejan Jakovic ($280,000 base salary), according to figures released by the MLS Players Union. At 35, De Rosario was United's oldest player under contract. D.C. United also cut veteran forwards Lionard Pajoy and Carlos Ruiz and midfielder Marcelo Saragosa, according to Goff. It will be interesting to see what comes next for De Rosario, one of MLS' most decorated and consistently dangerous players throughout his 12 years in the league. Aside from his MVP and Golden Boot award-winning season in 2011 with D.C. United, De Rosario has also been named to the MLS Best XI six times, won four MLS Cups, was named MLS Cup Final MVP twice, and won the MLS Goal of the Year award in target="_blank">2004 and target="_blank">2005 in spells with the San Jose Earthquakes, Houston Dynamo, Toronto FC, and New York Red Bulls.