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Old Man Wayne Rooney's MLS Tenure Ended With A Spectacular Postseason Meltdown

Photo: Vaughn Ridley (Getty Images)

It was no surprise that Old Man Wayne Rooney was involved in his team’s last-gasp equalizer, as saving DC United has been a bit of a theme for him throughout his MLS career. Deep into injury time, the ex-Manchester United star whipped a cross from a corner to teammate Frédéric Brillant, who flicked a header towards Lucas Rodriguez to tie this first round playoff game at 1-1.

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D.C. United appeared to be in prime position for a storied comeback in extra time—or, at the very least, some semblance of a valiant effort at the win—after shocking the home crowd into silence with a late equalizer against the run of play. Rooney’s farewell also raised the stakes for a possible extra-time stunner.

Not so much in reality. In fact, it’s safe to say that the disaster that followed would normally have gone in the pantheon of DC sports failures if more people cared about the team. But since the Nats are in the World Series and the Mystics just won a ring, this will be just a blip in the radar.

Anyway, the meltdown in question happened in the 15 minutes allotted for the first half of extra time. It started just two minutes in, with a goal from Richie Laryea. Obviously, there’s no panic from United just yet. Two minutes go by and Jonathan Osorio gets in on the action to make it 3-1 for Toronto. United might have been a little stunned at this point, but overturning a two-goal deficit in MLS isn’t exactly unheard of. A three-goal deficit, however, is where the mountain of shit starts to look daunting, which is what Osorio did a whole eight minutes after his first goal of the match. The dagger came from Nick DeLeon, a former DC United player, who fired a beautiful curling shot into the top corner of the net to seal the game at 5-1. (The goals start at 2:46.)

While the cameras mercifully avoid focusing on the distraught faces of United players, unlike those working the ALCS, the anger and frustration boiling inside every guy in black is palpable with their reactions after the fourth and fifth goal of the game. At some point, the frustration breaks and it’s almost an apathetic head slump, which I’m sure is exactly what Old Man Wayne Rooney wanted in his final MLS game. At least he probably got used to horrific collapses playing for England.

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