MLS play-offs: Wayne Rooney and DC United done after one game in heartbreaking fashion

  • The former Everton and Manchester United star misses a penalty kick after extra-time
PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 November, 2018, 2:37pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 November, 2018, 2:37pm

When they needed them the most, DC United’s two stars failed to show up.

Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta both missed spot kicks in a penalty shoot-out after extra time against the Columbus Crew in the first round of the MLS play-offs, and the visitors walked away with a 3-2 victory.

Rooney, who shot first for DC United, had his attempt saved by Columbus goalkeeper Zack Steffen, then Acosta did too, in similar fashion as both shot to the left.

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DC United scored first in the 21st minute when defender Fredric Brilliant pounced on a loose ball after a cross, however Crew equalised quickly as Federico Higuain levelled the score 10 minutes later. Higuain scored in the 97th minute of extra time, and the game appeared to be over, until Nick DeLeon, who was brought on off the bench, scored in the dying minutes of extra time to send the match to penalty kicks.

In a cruel twist of fate, it was then DeLeon’s penalty miss that gave Columbus Crew the win.

Rooney, interviewed after the game by ESPN FC, said it was a tough way to start his MLS play-off career, however he added he is optimistic looking forward.

“It’s disappointing losing on penalties but as a team we can be extremely proud of what we have achieved in the last few months,” he said. “In today’s game the crowd, the atmosphere was fantastic and it shows the team are coming along great and they are proud of our performances. We’ll try and build on this next season.”

The 32-year-old’s comment about next season with DC United is most definitely music to the ears of the team’s fans, and serves as a bit of a silver lining for the loss.

Rooney signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with the club, which will pay him US$13 million (HK$101.3) annually.

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While some European players have moved to MLS and stayed for lengthy periods of time (NYFC’s David Villa, Spain’s all-time leading scorer, is now in his fourth season with the club and heading into a play-off game against league favourites Atlanta United), other high-profile transfers haven’t panned out as well.

Rumours are circulating that Zlatan Ibrahimovic may return to AC Milan in December after his first season with the LA Galaxy did not go as planned as the team missed the play-offs. Also, Bastian Schweinsteiger said he is going to “have to think about” whether he will return to Chicago Fire next season after his team missed the play-offs as well.

Rooney had an impressive rookie season with DC United, scoring 12 goals and adding seven assists in 20 matches. He was also nominated for MLS regular season MVP along with Ibrahimovic.