Everyone knows by now that Wayne Rooney turned out to be a great signing for D.C. United, but the former England, Manchester United, and Everton striker outdid himself tonight, scoring 3 goals in United’s 5-0 dismantling of Real Salt Lake. Rooney struck in the 34th minute (from the spot), the 41st minute, and again in the 65th minute, giving the Black-and-Red more than enough goals to claim a win over 9-man RSL.
Rooney started his night off with a penalty kick. Paul Arriola gave Rooney the opportunity after drawing a foul in the box on Marcelo Silva (who got a yellow card on the play, and was later sent off for a second in the 67th minute). Rooney, facing a goalkeeper with a tremendous track record on penalty kicks in Nick Rimando, sent the RSL ‘keeper the wrong way in the 34th minute.
It wasn’t long before Rooney picked up a brace, running onto a perfectly-weighted pass from right back Leonardo Jara in the 41st minute. Taking a touch to get Rimando to commit low, Rooney went with a clever dinked finish to make it 2-0.
Rooney got his hat trick by finishing off a well-worked team goal in the 65th minute. Junior Moreno started the move deep in the midfield, pushing the ball forward to Luciano Acosta, who had found space against the shorthanded visitors. Moreno kept his run going off the ball, and after Acosta produced a vicious cutback on Kyle Beckerman, the Argentine playmaker found the Venezuelan holding midfielder inside the area. Moreno could have gone for goal himself, but unselfishly opted to pick out Rooney’s run, creating the simplest of tap-ins for the striker to finish.
If all of that weren’t enough, Rooney then chipped in with an assist on United’s fourth. Granted, most of the plaudits will go to Lucas Rodriguez for an absolutely brilliant side-volley, but Rooney’s delivery had to be perfect to give the newcomer a chance to strike his rocket of a goal.
In the end, Rooney offered up far more than just a hat trick and an assist. He also had 4 key passes, and took 11 shots (putting 5 on goal) in a dominant effort.