Houston still has a place in De Ro's heart

Ex-Dynamo idol reminisces about titles and praises Houston fan base

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Several years may have passed, but the memories of Dwayne De Rosario in
Houston are still fresh in the minds of many Dynamo fans.

A central figure in Houston’s two MLS Cup championships in 2006 and
2007, the Canadian international gets to return to the place he
helped transform into a soccer city when his new club, the New York Red
Bulls, comes to town Saturday night (7:30 p.m.).

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Houston’s former talisman and one of the league's most exciting players,
De Rosario left the Dynamo after the 2008 season to move to his hometown club in
Toronto.

“It was very difficult to leave [Houston],” De Rosario said. “Being
with [manager] Dominic [Kinnear] for quite some time, we created a very
good relationship, and it was the same with quite a few of the players.”

That relationship matured when Houston welcomed its new MLS club in
2006, the first of back-to-back MLS Cup titles. During those first years
in Houston, De Rosario became a fan favorite, winning over supporters
with his creativity and goal-scoring abilities.

“It’s been very positive going back [to Houston], because [the fans]
appreciate me, and it’s certainly mutual,” De Rosario said. “Houston has a
great fan base, and I’m very happy they’re getting a stadium. It’s much
deserved.”

Dynamo fans were not the only ones in love with De Rosario. The club’s
management made several attempts to bring the midfielder back to Houston
earlier this season but fell short in their bid.

“I didn’t really know that there was interest there," De Rosario said.
"But when I did find out, I knew that the relationship I had with Dom
[Kinnear] was a healthy one and he was a great coach and mentor. Knowing
they would take me back was a good feeling, and it shows there were no
hard feelings from when I left.”

After burning the Dynamo for two goals on his most recent return to
Robertson Stadium last year with Toronto, De Rosario will be making his
first visit as a member of the Red Bulls. New York and Houston
previously met in Week 2 at Red Bull Arena, where they played to a 1-1
tie with De Rosario notching an assist in his New York debut.

The former Dynamo playmaker, who has three goals and one assist in five all-time games against the Dynamo and scored in last year's MLS All-Star Game in Houston, is now looking to put on another All-Star performance in the city he once called home.

“Houston wasn’t really too much of a soccer city, but we put it on the
map,” De Rosario said. “Football was big there, and after our first
successful year we put [soccer] on the map. The organization has really
done a lot to make strides there, and it’s great to see soccer really
developing there.”

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.