Dwayne De Rosario sees good times ahead for the Canadian national soccer team.
The D.C. United star credits coach Stephen Hart's positive vibe and says the players are feeding off it.
"Stephen and Tony [assistant coach Tony Fonseca] have done a great job of really understanding the guys more off the field and getting to know each character," De Rosario told a media conference call Friday.
"When you're with the national team, you have a short time to work with the players. You have to figure out your players as soon as possible and these games definitely help that, [to] really become a family. … That's the kind of environment we need moving forward, because the next [World Cup qualifying] phases aren't going to be easy. But obviously the first step is against St. Kitts.
"I think everyone is pleased at the way the national team is developing, moving forward."
Next qualifier Nov. 5
Canada wraps up its current round of World Cup qualifying in November with home-and-away matches with St. Kitts.
The Canadian men need just one point from those games to move forward to the next round.
Despite playing for three MLS teams in 2011, De Rosario has had a banner season — winning the Gold Boot as the league's top scorer with 16 goals and 12 assists.
De Rosario said the repeated moves this season — he was traded twice — weren't easy on his family.
"Once I'm on the field, that's where my heart and my passion is. When I get out there, I just try to play with that enjoyment all the time and just work hard for whoever's beside me, whoever's on my team. I've tried to do that every game this year."
De Rosario's goal haul this season brings his career total to 93, seventh on the all-time MLS scoring list. He is third among active players, behind only Jeff Cunningham and Landon Donovan.
Favourite for MLS MVP
This year, the 33-year-old Toronto native also became the first player in MLS history to score goals for three different teams over the course of a single season.
He had one goal in two games for Toronto FC, two in 13 for New York and 13 goals in 18 games for DC United.
De Rosario ranks as one of the favourites for the league MVP award and says winning it would be huge — not just for him but youngCanadian soccer players who want to follow in his footsteps.
"It would mean a lot, to be honest," he said. "I've been runner-up quite a few times."
He said it would also show "you could overcome everything."