Commentary: In DeRo, NY finally get their No. 10

Move takes creative burden off Henry, Richards; TFC get youth

Dwayne De Rosario

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The New York Red Bulls finally got their No. 10.

New York GM Eric Solér had been saying for months that the club had been pursuing a playmaker, and in Dwayne De Rosario, that’s exactly what RBNY get. Now in his 11th year in MLS, the 32-year-old De Rosario has 74 goals and 52 assists in the regular season, most of them coming from the “hole” just behind a pair of strikers.

That’s an area RBNY manager Hans Backe has wanted filled since his arrival. The design is to play a 4-4-2 midfield diamond similar to Real Salt Lake. In DeRo, the Red Bulls now have someone who can approximate the play of Javier Morales and take some of the creative burden off of Thierry Henry and Dane Richards.

They’ve also gotten older and sacrificed a good chunk of depth. And for all of Backe’s talk about the Supporters’ Shield, this trade doesn’t help New York in that regard as De Rosario is likely to be gone for a good portion of the season representing Canada at the Gold Cup.

Instead, this is all about the need to win MLS Cup. DeRo has four of those to his name; the rest of the RBNY roster, combined, has three.

On the Toronto FC side of the ledger, this trade is about two things: improving the defense immediately, and improving their long-term prospects as a club.

Tony Tchani is the big catch here. The big central midfielder struggled for a few months coming out of college, but he flicked a switch sometime around June of 2010 and, through the summer, was one of the best players in New York.

He showed toughness and poise on the ball, a decent passing eye and willingness to combine. Defensively, he worked hard and by sheer virtue of physical stature and his ability to cover ground, he made himself an asset.

Tchani, who turns 22 in less than two weeks, is still raw, but it seems certain that TFC manager Aron Winter will start him immediately in the middle of the Reds’ 4-3-3. That gives the Dutchman another young, gifted central midfielder he can mold tactically for the long haul, and more cover for the leaky defense in the short-term.

Defense is where Danleigh Borman, who’s been with the Red Bulls since 2008, will find himself. A natural left-footed player, Borman is still learning how to play left back. He’s had some highs – particularly in a few good US Open Cup outings early last year – and some lows. But in either case, he represents an upgrade for TFC.

Borman, who is 26, is small but pacy, and an able crosser who likes to push into the attack with overlapping runs. He’ll certainly get his chances there, as the ability to generate attacks from the fullback spot are an essential ingredient of Winter’s 4-3-3.

The final piece of the puzzle is a 2012 RBNY first round SuperDraft pick, likely to be somewhere in the teens. Obviously any draft pick is hit-or-miss, but TFC fans can be content seeing that their manager is planning for the future in a way the club has mostly failed to do through their first four years of existence.