It’s award season in MLS, and D.C. United have a chance to take home some end-of-year honors with their two key playmakers: Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta. Rooney is in the running for the Landon Donovan MVP Award and the MLS Newcomer of the Year award, while Acosta is currently in second place in MLS Goal of the Year voting.
Rooney's standout debut MLS season has made him a final contender for two of the league's most prestigious end-of-year awards. In his 20 matches played, Rooney surged ahead as United's leading goalscorer, tallying 12 goals and adding seven assists, scoring game-winning goals against Toronto and Chicago, and producing the game-winning assist against Orlando. The forward also helped ignite the rest of the Black-and-Red's attack, and was a vital leader on the pitch and in the locker room as United made their playoff run and ultimately secured their postseason berth.
Acosta is nominated for Goal of the Year for his buzzer-beating score against Orlando City on August 12. With the game deadlocked at 2-2 in stoppage time, and as Orlando looked to set up a counter attack off a fruitless corner kick from the Black-and-Red, Wayne Rooney chased down the City attacker and cleanly stripped him of the ball. The forward dribbled back across the midfield line before sending a long cross in the box to Acosta, who out-jumped his defender and headed the ball in at the post for the last-second game-winner. The goal completed a hat trick for Acosta and earned the Black-and-Red all three points in a must-win match.
Acosta currently trails Zlatan Ibrahimovic's goal against LAFC in MLS Goal of the Year voting. Click here to vote for Acosta's goal, voting closes on Saturday, Nov. 11.
Rooney and Acosta hope to join MLS' 2018 award winners, some of whom have already been announced. Aaron Long of the New York Red Bulls took home MLS Defender of the Year, Zack Steffen of the Columbus Crew won MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, and Corey Baird of Real Salt Lake was named AT&T Rookie of the Year. Additionally, Gyasi Zardes of the Columbus Crew won MLS Comeback Player of the Year and Matt Lampson of Minnesota United was named MLS Works Humanitarian of the Year.