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De Rosario admits early return to Red Bulls bittersweet

UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. — The Red Bulls' spirits were lifted Thursday morning with the return of midfielder Dwayne De Rosario, who is back with the club after Canada were bounced from the Gold Cup on Tuesday following a 1-1 tie with Panama.

“Definitely bittersweet,” De Rosario said about his return to the Red Bulls. “A tournament like that, you want see how far you can get.”

Calling Canada’s elimination “devastating,” De Rosario was disappointed at how his national team fared in the tournament. While he wishes he were still with the Canucks getting ready to play in the quarterfinals, the midfielder turned his full attention back to the Red Bulls and their MLS campaign.

On Thursday, De Rosario put in a full training shift at Montclair State University, working mainly with the players recovering from injuries and doing some light drills with Joel Lindpere and Teemu Tainio.

“It was good,” De Rosario said of his first training session back with the club. “Guys were happy to see me, I was happy to see them. You look at the locker room right now — a lot of guys are beat up. We need numbers.”

The Red Bulls now embark on a road trip that will take them to Portland, Seattle and Chicago, with a final stop in San Jose. De Rosario knows that he will be counted on to play almost immediately, as the Red Bulls are still without regulars Juan Agudelo, Rafa Márquez, Tim Ream and Dane Richards, and have an ailing Luke Rodgers battling a heel injury.

For a player who went through three tough matches with Canada plus plenty of air travel, it is shaping up to be another grueling test.

“Right now, thankfully, I came out of the tournament healthy,” De Rosario said. “Just have to monitor my body, play it smart. The big thing right now is the games.”

And while teammate Thierry Henry said that he was glad to have De Rosario back, he definitely wasn’t rooting against De Ro and Canada. Head coach Hans Backe, however, was a little more open with his response to the return of the midfielder.

“I was pretty happy,” Backe said.

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