Wayne Rooneys Major League Soccer adventure came to a sour end along with DC Uniteds season on Saturday as Toronto FC scored four goals in extra-time to complete a 5-1 playoff win
Wayne Rooneys Major League Soccer adventure came to a sour end along with DC Uniteds season on Saturday as Toronto FC scored four goals in extra-time to complete a 5-1 playoff win.
Rooney has been an inspiration for much of his career at DC United but he will leave with some regrets. Although this was the second time the 33-year-old had led his team to the playoffs, they did not win a postseason game during his time in MLS.
If Rooney enjoyed his time in North America he kept it to himself on Saturday, dressing quietly and then offering nothing more than a glance in the direction of the media as he turned and left the dressing room without saying a word, leaving it to teammates and coaches to reflect on his contributions.
I think he gave a lot to the organisation, he was a great teammate, said the DC United coach, Ben Olsen. I think he was good to our fans and he was very appreciative of the support he got with our fan base and the community, the DC area.
Its an unfortunate way for him to finish. I am sure he would have wanted to hit the back of the net and push us into the next round but thats not how it went.
Rooney finished Saturdays contest on the bench after being substituted in extra-time, but showed the skills that made him one of the best forwards in the world during his prime. Twice during a one-minute stretch during the second half with Toronto clinging to a 1-0 lead, Rooney forced TFCs Quentin Westberg to make spectacular saves, later patting the keeper on the back as he walked away shaking his head and looking towards the heavens.
A stoppage-time equaliser from Lucas Rodriguez off a Rooney corner cancelled Torontos 1-0 lead but the home side promptly scored four in extra-time: a pair from Jonathan Osorio and one each from substitutes Richie Laryea and Nick DeLeon.
Rooney did not bring the charisma of former England captain David Beckham to MLS but he did offer a well marketed blue-collar appeal that endeared him to fans. There were a few highlight reel moments during his time in the United States, including a brilliant long range strike from his own half of the field against Orlando, while a Twitter spat between his wife Coleen and the wife of his former-England Jamie Vardy kept him in the English tabloid headlines.
But while Rooney brought a bit more attention and a put a few more fans in the seats as DC United moved from RFK Stadium to their new state-of-the-art home Audi Field, he never came close to elevating MLSs profile the way Beckham did on his arrival in Los Angeles in 2007. While Beckham is still involved in MLS with his new team, Inter Miami, set to join the league in 2020, Rooney returns to England to be a player-coach with Championship side Derby County.
Toronto FC will now play New York City FC in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. In Saturdays other games, the Seattle Sounders beat FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake saw off the Portland Timbers and the reigning champions, Atlanta United, defeated New England Revolution.