The Two Solitudes Derby is one of the most exciting rivalries in Major League Soccer. For some players, this rivalry runs even deeper. Today we take an in-depth look at some of the players who have seen some of their best moments in the Two Solitudes Derby. This week, the spotlight is on Dominic Oduro and Dwayne de Rosario. Next time, we'll take a look at Patrice Bernier and Hassoun Camara.
This is the second part in a series covering the Montreal Impact - Toronto FC rivalry. (See previous parts: 1)
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Players Turned Coaches
Current head coach Mauro Biello was an Impact player in 2008 and 2009, when Montreal and TFC played in different leagues but met in the Canadian Championship. Unfortunately, he never saw derby action. His only minutes in either year's tournament came June 17th, 2008, when he played a full 90 minutes in the 2-0 win over the then-also-USL Whitecaps.
Impact Technical Director Adam Braz, on the other hand, did play in the derby. Braz started both matches against TFC in the 2008 Canadian Championship, and one match in each of the 2009 and 2010 editions.
Carl Robinson, current Vancouver Whitecaps head coach, played for Toronto in the 2008 & 2009 CC as well.
Dominic Oduro (F, Montreal Impact)
Dominic Oduro is the only player on the current rosters (and just third ever) to have seen derby action for both sides. He played one fairly forgettable season for Toronto FC in 2014, scoring just two goals. He has netted 12 to date for the Impact, including four already this season.
Justin Braun and Collen Warner played for both sides of the derby before Oduro. Greg Sutton and Issey Nakajima-Farran also played for both teams, but only saw derby action for one side. To date, no player has scored for both teams.
Among his 12 goals, three came in the Two Solitudes Derby, good enough for a 5th place all-time ranking alongside Didier Drogba and Chad Barrett.
Most notably, Oduro scored in the 84th minute of the game last May that put Montreal through to the Voyageurs Cup final. The speedy Ghanian's strong start to the season leaves him a solid contender to climb to the top of the Derby scoring table.
Aside from his goals and his speed (he's ranked as the 6th fastest player in the world in the FIFA '16 game, which seems to be the only "official" ranking of player speed), Oduro is also known for his fun, if unusual, choices in hairstyle.
Dwayne de Rosario (F, Toronto FC)
Dwayne de Rosario is one of the most prolific goal scorers in the Derby, thanks greatly in part to the 6-1 home defeat Montreal felt in 2009. His four goals currently keep him at the top of the table, alongside the likes of Marco Di Vaio, Jozy Altidore, and Sebastian Giovinco.
Before the game in 2009, Montreal had its first big run in the CONCACAF Champions League. The team was led by Marc Dos Santos, and it was Mauro Biello’s final season raking in goals for the Impact.
Going into the game, Montreal had posted a losing record in the three-team Canadian Championship (0-0-3, -9 GD), Toronto sat in the middle (2-0-1, 0 GD), and Vancouver (3-0-1, +4 GD) looked sure to take home their first Voyageurs Cup. In fact, this would be the first time the trophy didn’t sit in the Impact trophy cabinet.
The only way for Toronto to take the cup home was to beat Montreal by 4 or more goals, putting them ahead of Vancouver on the third tiebreaker (total goals scored).
Tony Donatelli opened the scoring for Montreal on a penalty kick in the 24th minute. Dwayne de Rosario put Toronto back in the game soon after, scoring twice (29’, 39’) before the whistle. He added a third in the 49th minute, and Amado Guevara and Chad Barrett combined for three more before the game ended.
DeRo’s goalscoring prowess certainly won the game for Toronto. He went on to win MLS Most Valuable Player award in 2011 while playing with DC United, and is the top goal scorer for both Toronto FC (28) and the Canadian men’s national team (22). His importance to soccer in Toronto and Canada cannot be understated.
Montreal, however, also played a role in the big win for Toronto. In an effort to keep the Cup in eastern Ontario, Montreal is rumoured to have thrown the game. Of the fourteen players to take the field for the Impact, only six saw significant minutes for the Impact in the 2009 season. It was the only game in the competition that starting ‘keeper Matt Jordan didn’t play.
Beyond that fateful game, Dwayne de Rosario scored again in the Derby in 2010, and saw the field against the Impact one more time in 2014 but did not find the net.
DeRo started out with his hometown club, the Toronto Lynx back in 1997. He was picked up by Toronto FC from Houston in 2009 to 2011, left for a few years, and returned in 2014 to play his final season in front of home fans. He played for the Canadian national team a whopping 81 times from 1998-2015. He was the youngest player on the squad that won the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Today, DeRo runs "DeRo United", a non-profit children’s soccer organization in the Toronto area. His work is helping to develop stronger domestic players through its soccer academy, and to improve the childhood of local youths through his summer camps and house leagues.