Dwayne De Rosario has rejoined Toronto FC after leaving for New York and D.C. in 2011. (Paul Sancya/AP)
Toronto FC has not won a whole lot (outside of Canadian championships) in its time as an MLS franchise, but it certainly has made a compelling case to win the MLS offseason.
With massive signings of Jermaine Defoe and Michael Bradley seemingly imminent, the club announced two more moves Thursday: The signing of homegrown forward Jordan Hamilton and the return of Canadian star Dwayne De Rosario.
With Defoe expected to be presented Monday in a transfer from Tottenham, De Rosario's return was slated to be the biggest item of TFC's week until Bradleymania swept across North America on Wednesday. The former TFC star and all-time leading scorer for the Canada national team was selected in the second phase of the MLS Re-Entry Draft and makes his return to BMO Field after unceremoniously being traded from the Reds to New York in 2011.
Following a second trade that season to D.C. United, De Rosario went on to win MLS MVP honors, and he returns as a 35-year-old piece of the puzzle instead of the showcase star. In two-plus seasons with Toronto (2009-2011), De Rosario tallied 27 goals and assisted on 10 others, but never received the big-money contract that he coveted.
"Dwayne’s resume speaks for itself. The addition of an MLS veteran with regular season and MLS Cup MVP honors brings a significant piece to the team we are building here at Toronto FC," TFC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in a team statement. "Dwayne’s impact will add considerable skill and depth to our squad and we look forward to having him serve as a mentor to our younger players. Dwayne has had a tremendous MLS and national team career. He has very strong ties to the team and the city and it is only fitting that this is how his story should unfold.”
Terms of De Rosario's new contract were not disclosed. A four-time MLS Cup winner and one of seven players in MLS history to reach the 100-goal barrier, De Rosario is five goals shy of tying Jason Kreis for fifth all-time (108).
That contrasts with the fresh canvas of Hamilton, who is the ninth player in club history to emerge from its academy. The 17-year-old will provide depth behind TFC's growing list of attacking talents, which is slated to include Defoe and already includes Brazilian Designated Player Gilberto.