It was a historic night for Wayne Rooney at Audi Field this past Saturday night, as the D.C. United captain's first MLS hat trick propelled the Black-and-Red to a 5-0 win over Real Salt Lake.
The match started with both teams taking their chances; while United were creating more promising attacking chances than their opponents, they still were not able to find the back of the net. That changed in the 34th minute when the referee consulted VAR and determined that Paul Arriola had been fouled in the area, giving a penalty kick to the Black-and-Red.
Rooney stepped up and didn’t blink, sending RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando the wrong way and sliding the ball into the back of the net for the first goal of the night - and his first of the 2019 MLS season.
In his post-match comments, Rooney acknowledged his historic night, but was more focused on the team’s performance.
“To score a hat-trick is always great,” Rooney said. “I’m happy to score three, but I’m pleased for the team. It was a great victory for us.”
While performances like this are special, Head Coach Ben Olsen said that he has complete faith that Rooney can continue to impress.
“I think he’s been doubted the last three years and he just continually does what he does. He’s done it since he’s been sixteen, he’s scored goals and played at a high level. I don’t know why that would change,” Olsen said. “It’s nice to have him. I think his teammates are excited that he’s here. It’s good that he got his goal. First goal is always good to get as a striker and he bagged a couple.”
Rooney is continuing to shine at the highest level, helping lead United to the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Even with just a few matches complete, the Black-and-Red are more confident than ever in the potential of this year.
D.C. United return to Audi Field on Saturday, April 6 at 3 PM against Carlos Vela and LAFC. To purchase tickets, click here.