Rooney falls in MLS farewell, champs Atlanta advance
Former England star Wayne Rooney’s DC United were thrashed in his Major League Soccer farewell match on Saturday as Toronto FC won 5-1 in the first round of the playoffs.
Rooney, who turns 34 on Thursday, assisted on a second-half stoppage time equalizer that forced 30 extra minutes, but United surrendered two goals in five minutes and never recovered.
Toronto advanced to an Eastern Conference semi-final on Wednesday at East top seed New York City FC.
Marco Delgado’s goal in the 32nd minute put Toronto ahead until Rooney crossed the ball into the heart of the box, Frederic Brillant got his head on it and Lucas Rodriguez finished in the third minute of stoppage time to equalize.
In extra time, Toronto’s Richie Laryea scored in the 93rd minute, fellow Canadian Jonathan Osorio added goals in the 95th and 103rd minutes and Nick DeLeon netted another in stoppage time after the first 15 minutes to seal United’s fate.
United captain and top scorer Rooney arrived in MLS in the middle of last season and lifted the club from league doormat to a playoff berth.
But the former Manchester United player said in August he was returning to England after this season to be a player and assistant coach for Championship club Derby County.
“He has been a big plus for this club,” United manager Ben Olsen said. “He has helped us in a big way.”
While Rooney’s arrival and a new stadium created buzz around United, the team flopped in the playoffs, ousted by Columbus last year on penalties.
His exit also comes with Washington sports fans focused on baseball’s World Series return to the US capitol next week for the first time since 1933.
Rooney had 11 goals in 28 matches this season, five of them game-winners and four of them penalties. Last season, Rooney scored 12 goals in 20 matches.
In other games, Franco Escobar scored in the 70th minute as defending champion Atlanta United beat visiting New England 1-0.
The Five Stripes advanced into an East semi Thursday against Sunday’s winner between the Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls.
Morris gets hat trick
In the Western Conference playoff opener, Seattle hometown hero Jordan Morris scored his first MLS hat trick to lead the Sounders over visiting Dallas 4-3 after extra time.
“Just being on your toes in the box,” Morris said of his feat. “I was on my toes and got some fortunate bounces.”
Morris bounced in a header in the 113th minute for the deciding goal to subdue stubborn Dallas.
Peruvian striker Raul Ruidiaz blasted in a right-footed shot from outside the penalty area in the 18th minute and set up a Morris goal from the left wing in the 22nd minute.
Dallas defender Reggie Cannon tapped in a goal in the 39th minute and the Texans equalized in the 64th minute on a header by Matt Hedges.
A fallen Morris directed the ball into the goal in the 74th minute for a 3-2 Seattle edge, but Bryan Acosta’s header in the 82nd minute forced extra time.
The Sounders will face Real Salt Lake who beat Portland 2-1 in the other West semi-final.
Zlatan Imbrahimovic and the Los Angeles Galaxy will play Minnesota United on Sunday with the winner meeting Los Angeles FC in the other West semi.
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