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De Rosario and Onstad savor return to Toronto


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May 13, 2007, 12:38AM


De Rosario and Onstad savor return to Toronto


Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

The Dynamo have been waiting for Wednesday's first over-the-border match against Toronto FC (Ch. 55, 6 p.m.).

Coming off their most convincing performance of the year in Colorado, the Dynamo will be rested and prepared for the encounter.

When they visit BMO Field, it will mark the second consecutive game that the Dynamo enter a new Major League Soccer facility.

Dwayne De Rosario and Pat Onstad formerly played for the Toronto Lynx during the 1996-97 season, and, in the case of Onstad, he has played for two other Toronto franchises: the Blizzard and Rockets.

Wednesday night marks an emotional and exciting return for the two players who will have friends and family in attendance.

"I'm looking forward to going back to show Canadians what MLS is all about," said Onstad, a former Canadian International player. "I am really excited to see soccer become successful in Toronto."

De Rosario, who earned MLS player of the week honors, will receive his second Canadian Player of the Year award and will be performing in front of fans and friends.

"It's huge and a great opportunity for me," De Rosario said. "I haven't played in my hometown in a long time, and I anticipate a great atmosphere. There are a lot of passionate fans in Toronto, and it is a great chance to showcase ourselves as the champions of MLS."

As for Toronto FC, the Dynamo will come up against one of their former teammates in Kevin Goldwaithe, who was a part of the deal to acquire Richard Mulrooney. Goldwaithe was brought by Toronto FC coach Mo Johnston to hold down the left back spot and will showcase an interesting battle against ex-teammate Brian Mullan.

"What I bring to the table is getting up and down the flank," Goldwaithe said. "If I'm not making four to six crosses per game, it's not a good game."

Success has not come in the form of on-field results for Toronto FC, and some of the player moves by the club have been baffling, but there is a lot clicking off the field. A beautiful downtown stadium, 14,000 season ticket holders and a passionate connected crowd say that soccer is here to stay in Toronto.

As a city, Toronto has some similarities to Houston in that it has a diverse ethnic makeup. Add strong management with Maple Leaf Sports and you have a team that has a viable opportunity to succeed long term.

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Well I had one amazing afternoon at the stadium. Media galore and Dwayne was difficult to find in the beginning,he cut his hair. no 14 was still on his shirt. I asked his very very proud father Tony about that hair.He said that Dwayne was not scoring so decided to cut it.I spoke briefly to Dwayne who recognized me immediately and he is really looking forward to play in Toronto.His father told me that he sold about 2ooo tickets ,friends family etc,from all over Ontario and the USA.He was there with some of the clan mostly kids at the ages of about 7 to 10,they were having a ball and City and CBC did their job in getting these kids on. Hey these are Dwaynes friends.I spoke to some of the players and they are all very aware of the Toronto support and they just find it marvelous and really looking forward to that crowd and singing as well,there was a little envy i thought. Pat Onstad was there as well of course and he said that he was looking forward to that already historic Toronto crowd.After the pratice he was the first to be interviewed.Following that it was Dwayne's turn but i had to leave.It was just about a media circus who were all there and never seen this before other than when Johan Cruiff was in town.

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One amazing evening as well. Was invited to Dwayne's 28 birthday party by his father at a place called Inside.The oldest outside of me was around 30.I still can't figure out how these kids communicate,the noise was amazing as well.Left at one leaving all these young girls fighting for another old man.

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