D.C. United's season is in danger of becoming derailed

It was right about August last year that D.C. United got hot, going on a run with a new star, Wayne Rooney, and at a new stadium, Audi Field, that ended with a fourth-place finish in MLS's Eastern Conference, quite an accomplishment for a team that won just three games in the first half of the season.

This year is just the opposite.

After a strong start, D.C. United is fading fast. A 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls dropped United into fifth place. It was the third loss in four games in August.



At the center of it all again is Rooney for not the right reasons. Two weeks after he announced he was returning to England to become the player-manager at Derby County, cutting short his contract with D.C. United by two years, he was sent off against the Red Bulls after jostling with Cristian Casseres Jr. on a corner kick in the 21st minute and pushing the young Venezuelan to the ground.

On Video Review, referee Ismail Elfath red-carded Rooney for what appeared to be an elbow into the face of Casseres.

“Anyone who knows the game of football can see what the intent was,” Rooney said of the call. “It was to try to ease the player out. And referee saw it as a red card, and so I’m very disappointed.”

The red card came four days after Rooney was subbed out of United's 1-0 at Vancouver in the second half and lashed out at the fourth official, shouting “every f***ing game” in reference what he said later was the lack of protection he felt he was getting from MLS referees. An unhappy Rooney also complained about MLS's travel policies, saying the 12-hour trip home could have been six if the team had a charter.


The losses to the Whitecaps and Red Bulls extended United's winless streak to four games with Rooney on the field. The only it's won since the All-Star Game was a 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy that Rooney missed because he was ill after returning from England to sign with Derby County.

D.C. United Schedule:
Aug. 24 at Philadelphia
Aug. 31 at Montreal
Sept. 15 at Portland
Sept. 22 Seattle
Sept. 29 at NY Red Bulls
Oct. 6 FC Cincinnati.

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12 comments about "D.C. United's season is in danger of becoming derailed".
  1. Andrew Megas, August 22, 2019 at 9:13 a.m.

    Trainwreck. Talented players. Dysfunctional Front Office. Good luck fellas!

  2. R2 Dad, August 22, 2019 at 11:43 a.m.

    VAR is catching the stuff he used to get away with in the EPL. That forearm could just have easily gone to the chest and there wouldn't have been a foul at all. I suspect WR needs more rest between games and the un-pampered treatment is getting old for him. No worries--the Championship awaits. Only those fans will be less forgiving than he remembers.

  3. Bob Ashpole, August 22, 2019 at 3:14 p.m.

    This is what I saw. Rooney was marking a player over a head taller than he was. That player slipped around a much shorter player and Rooney arm, which was in the chest of the taller player was in the face of the shorter player. 

    Rooney is looking at the ball when 23 put a shoulder into him.

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, August 22, 2019 at 3:18 p.m.

    Complete with embellishment. That was a rehearsed play. The refs bought it. 

  5. stewart hayes, August 22, 2019 at 6:41 p.m.

    Looks like one of those situations where appearances can be deceiving.  Looks to me like he had his forearm into the opponent and it appears that he is throwing an elbow but he is not.  I don't think Rooney is that stupid.

  6. Eric in DC, August 22, 2019 at 8:03 p.m.

    Terrible front office, owner generally disinterested, 10 year head coach that can’t game plan and burns his players out. #OlsenOut

  7. Paul Cox, August 23, 2019 at 1:54 a.m.

    Maybe he was just trying to "ease the guy off the ball" but he did it with an elbow/forearm to the guy's neck and head, and that's an easy easy red card.

  8. Bob Ashpole replied, August 25, 2019 at 11:22 a.m.

    Paul, watch the clip again. The man Rooney was marking was not the one who Rooney's forearm struck. The man Rooney fouled was the pick that Rooney's mark rolled around. It was still a foul, but you have the context wrong. The context determines whether a foul is careless, reckless, or violent. 

  9. Bob Ashpole replied, August 25, 2019 at 11:27 a.m.

    I need to qualify that statement. From the clip we can't see if the contact occurred while the ball was in play. If the ball was not in play, there can be no foul, only misconduct. Since this was video replay and professional officials, I will assume that the ball was in play, but I don't know that.

    If the ball was not in play, then I think the red card was not proper.

  10. Ginger Peeler, August 23, 2019 at 11:27 a.m.

    Since when has intent (according to TLOTG) had a bearing  on fouls? Players claim intent matters and commentators claim intent matters, but a foul is a foul, whether it’s deliberate or not! How many times have you seen a player unable to react quickly enough to avoid getting hit in the arm by a ball? It’s a foul! Period! Or a player is tripped and a foul is called on the tripper and the commentator argues that it’s not a foul because the guy who caused the trip managed to touch the ball. Guys with as much experience as Rooney must know that the actions they take may result in a foul. And all commentators should be required to take the Referee’s course before they’re ever allowed on the air. 

  11. Bob Ashpole replied, August 26, 2019 at 8:23 p.m.

    Ginger for contact of an arm to the face or head to be a straight red offense it must be "deliberate" and of more than neglible force (hence the reason for the academy award performance by the "victim").

  12. Paul Levy, August 23, 2019 at 4:35 p.m.

    This DC United season ticket holder since 1996 says, plain red card.  Of course, ref should also have given a handball as the other end and recognized the Red Bull dive instead of giving a penalty

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