IMAGE: rsl cele

D.C. United returned to Audi Field in style on Saturday night, cruising to a 5-0 win against Real Salt Lake, who ended the match with just nine men. The emphatic result gives D.C. United two wins and seven goals on the season, as well as three clean sheets in three matches in 2019.

After creating a number of chances in the opening stages, United broke the deadlock in the 34th minute. After RSL centerback Marcelo Silva stepped on Paul Arriola’s ankle, the referee consulted VAR and awarded the Black-and-Red a penalty. Captain Wayne Rooney then stepped up and buried it to give the home side the lead.

Rooney doubled his tally in the 41st minute. United forced a turnover in RSL’s half, with the ball falling to Leonardo Jara, who sent his pass into the box for Rooney. The forward then calmly chipped RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando to stretch United’s lead to two. During stoppage time at the end of the first half, Jefferson Savarino was sent off with a straight red card after a high kick to the face of Luciano Acosta, sending the Black-and-Red into halftime with a two goal lead and up a man.

In the 63rd minute, they made it 3-0, with Rooney completing his hat trick. Moments later, Marcelo Silva got a second yellow card for a tackle on Luciano Acosta, resulting in a red card and taking Real Salt Lake down to nine men.

But the Black-and-Red weren’t finished yet. In the 76th minute, Lucas Rodriguez scored his first goal for United with an incredible side volley. After Rooney swung in his corner to the edge of the box, Rodriguez smashed it past Rimando to make it 4-0 for the home side. Ulises Segura rounded out the scoring in the 80th minute, scoring his first goal of the season to make it 5-0.

After earning Man of the Match performances in Week 1 and Week 2, Bill Hamid wasn’t called upon too many times in this match, but came up huge when needed. As Real Salt Lake were pushing for a late consolation goal, Hamid made a massive save to deny the visitors. The Black-and-Red goalkeeper finished the night with two saves, securing his third clean sheet of the season.

D.C. United has started off their 2019 season on the right note, finishing Week 3 atop the Eastern Conference. The Black-and-Red will hit the road again after the international break, facing Orlando City on March 31 before returning to Audi Field for another interconference match-up against LAFC on Saturday, April 6. To purchase tickets for this match, click here.