Behind Wayne Rooney's Hat Trick, D.C. United Smash Real Salt Lake 5-0

Washington, D.C. — Wayne Rooney netted his first MLS hat trick on Saturday evening, as D.C. United strolled past nine-man Real Salt Lake 5-0. Wayne Rooney scored three times for his first MLS hat trick and added an assist in the second half for Lucas Rodriguez. In front of 17,190 on a cold night at Audi Field, the Black-and-Red took advantage of two red cards to RSL to grab their second win in three tries to start the 2019 season.

Rooney, after being shutout in the first two games of the season, was the star of the show, netting a penalty in the 34th minute, after a video review gave United a penalty for a Marcelo Silva stomp on Paul Arriola in the box. Nick Rimando, known for his penalty stopping ability, was sent the wrong way and the English international scored easily, giving United the lead. 

Ben Olsen was able to use the same lineup for the third game in a row, as were their opponents. The understanding that comes from regularly playing the same players came apparent in the 41st minute, when right back Leonardo Jara stepped up to force a turnover and quickly fed Rooney in the box. There was no doubt that Rooney would finish the chance, as the striker chipped the ball over Rimando.

Proceedings went from bad to worse for RSL in first-half stoppage time, as Jefferson Savarino was sent off, having raked Luciano Acosta in the face with his studs. That produced a red card from referee David Gantar, and Rooney nearly completed his hat trick in the first half, hitting the crossbar from the free kick.

Rooney headed wide from a Joseph Mora cross, but finally completed his hat trick in the 65th minute. Acosta turned Kyle Beckerman at the top of the box, and then played out wide to Junior Moreno. Moreno could have shot from his position, but slide the ball into the middle for Rooney, who tapped in for his third goal.

In the 70th minute, Silva got his marching orders, as he dragged Rodriguez down just outside the box. That denied the Argentine his first goal, but six minutes later, Rodriguez opened his account in stunning fashion. A corner from Rooney was sent to the top of the box, where an unmarked Rodriguez smashed a volley home for the 4-0 lead.

The route wasn't complete until the 81st minute when substitute Ulises Segura found the net for the fifth goal for D.C. 

Moreno forced a turnover for United, leaving himself and Segura with just one defender to beat at the top of the box. Moreno fed Segura the ball, and the Costa Rican's deft finish rounded out an astounding night for the Black-and-Red.

United are off next week for the international break. They return to action on March 31 when they travel to Florida to take on Orlando City. 

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