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Wayne Rooney hat-trick leads DC United past Real Salt Lake

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Wayne Rooney bagged the first hat-trick of his Major League Soccer career as D.C. United trounced 10-man Real Salt Lake 5-0 at Audi Field.

Rooney scored a pair in the first half and then sealed the deal in the 65th minute as he led the way to keep D.C. United unbeaten through the first three games of the season. The England international picked up his first goals of the 2019 season in emphatic fashion, exploding out of the gates in the 34th minute to break the deadlock with a fabulous dinked finish after a bad RSL turnover in the defensive third.

Rooney then doubled his tally and the lead from the spot after Damir Kreilach conceded the penalty with a foul on Lucas Rodriguez confirmed via VAR.

RSL fell down a man when Jefferson Savarino was shown a straight red card deep into first-half stoppage time for a dangerous boot that caught Luciano Acosta square in the face. They lost another when Marcelo Silva was shown a second yellow in the 67th minute.

Finally, amid thoughts of taking the 33-year-old off to manage his minutes, the hat-trick arrived as Rooney received an unselfish feed from Junior Moreno in a two-on-one situation and couldn’t miss, with a big smile on his face as he celebrated with hugs from teammates.

D.C. United has begun the season with two wins and a draw in its first three matches, tied atop the Eastern Conference alongside Columbus Crew with seven points. The defense has been the real star of the show so far, still yet to concede a goal through the 270 league minutes.

DC United tops defending champions Atlanta in season opening match

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Since leaving Ajax in 2016, new Atlanta United manager Frank De Boer has struggled in the early portions of his managerial tenures. He lost to Chievo in his first Serie A match in charge of Inter, he lost all four Premier League matches while leading Crystal Palace, and now he has a loss to begin his Major League Soccer tenure.

D.C. United found goals from Paul Arreola and Luciano Acosta on each side of the halftime break to win 2-0 its first match of the season and hand Atlanta a loss in the opener for the second straight year.

While Atlanta held more possession throughout the match, they managed just nine total shots with only two on target. Meanwhile, D.C. United whipped off 16 shots with six on target, keeping Brad Guzan busy. Acosta ran the midfield and was a constant threat for the Atlanta back line to deal with.

The match was scoreless until first-half added time when a corner swung in for D.C. and found the feet of Wayne Rooney on the doorstep. While he was unable to put the ball into the back of the net under heavy pressure, his mis-hit effort trickled to Arreola at the near post for a power blast and the lead.

Out of the break, the hosts doubled the lead through Acosta as the Argentinian whipped a long-range knuckler that swerved enough to throw Guzan off balance, wrong-footed and left to watch the ball roll past him into the back of the net. It was a bad moment for Guzan in a match where all eyes were on his performance after fellow USMNT international Bill Hamid had choice words before the match. “I’m better than Brad Guzan,” Hamid said on Sunday before the game.

Atlanta was never able to find a way back into the match, unable to complete a single pass in the penalty area all match despite a nearly 150 pass advantage throughout the match. D.C. United also doubled Atlanta United up on chances created, with the home side putting together 10 key passes to Atlanta’s five. Acosta and Arreola, the two goalscorers, also combined for five of D.C.’s 10 key passes as they were instrumental in the build-up.

The loss for Atlanta is not concerning at this point, given they fell 4-0 to Houston in last year’s season opener. They bounced back from that in extraordinary fashion, with a run of seven wins in eight matches before their next loss. It remains to be seen if De Boer can emulate the success under Gerardo Martino last year, but there is plenty to improve on after this performance.

For D.C., this result gives credence to fans who were excited to see if the club could recreate the success they had to finish out last season, hoping to carry that over to a full campaign.

West Ham rides early goals to beat Newcastle

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  • Rice scores early header
  • Noble converts penalty
  • West Ham move 9th, four back of 7th

Declan Rice and Mark Noble scored first half goals to lead West Ham United to a 2-0 defeat of Newcastle United on Saturday at the London Stadium.

West Ham United has closed ground on Wolves in the race for 7th with the win.

Newcastle United remains six points clear of 18th place with nine matches to play.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

West Ham struck early through Rice, who lost Federico Fernandez while jockeying for position pre-corner and put a simple header past Martin Dubravka.

Ayoze Perez was offside for a 28th minute equalizer bid. Sean Longstaff then played a beautiful diagonal ball into the West Ham box to no avail.

West Ham earned a penalty, when Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez was taken down in the box by Florian Lejeune. Noble went to the spot and finished well for 2-0.

Fabian Schar nearly turned a second chance off a corner kick into a goal in the fifth minute of first half stoppage, but it was blocked out for a corner and the Irons saw their lead into halftime.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Perez’s shot across goal could’ve easily been 2-1, but it was too wayward to be a goal and too hard to meet a receiver.

Arthur Masuaku cued up Hernandez with a diagonal beauty, but the Mexican’s first touch wasn’t enough.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

2019 MLS Eastern Conference Preview

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Red Bulls, Atlanta, and everyone else?

In any other league, you’d take a peek at how 2018 went and expect much of the same; Throw some league legends leaving the East — David Villa and Sebastian Giovinco — and you’d consider whether some records might be broken by the returning Top Two.

But this is Major League Soccer, where no power is permanent. Here’s a quick way to keep you up to speed, in reverse order of 2018 finish.


FC Cincinnati — Manager Alan Koch brings a deep midfield and defense into MLS, hoping that Emmanuel Ledesma and Fanendo Adi can combine to get enough goals to surprise the league.

Star player: Ledesma. Yes, that Ledesma. He’s a wizard, but moving from USL to MLS will take some acclimation.

Realistic expectation: Miss the playoffs but use a rowdy stadium and signs of progress to scare plenty of people along the way.


Orlando City SC — This team is going to look massively different, as former Burnley player James O’Connor gets a full season to do what worked for him as a USL manager at Louisville City.

Star player: Nani. It’s difficult to imagine him not having an incredible amount of success in attack.

Realistic expectation: Find consistency and chemistry, challenge for a playoff spot.


Bastian Schweinsteiger  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Chicago Fire — Possibly adding Nicolas Gaitan to a crew of creators which includes Djordje Mihailovic should give Veljko Paunovic a chance to succeed, but can the Fire defend their own area?

Star player: Bastian Schweinsteiger. Whenever he plays, Chicago is simply the best version of itself.

Realistic expectation: Compete for a playoff spot, but likely fall just short.


Toronto FC — An absolute mess made more remarkable by the fact that arguably the same unit destroyed MLS in 2017. A healthy Jozy Altidore may be more important than many thought, but he’s not quite healthy now, is he?

Star player: Jonathan Osorio. Yes, really. Until we know that Jonathan Pozuelo is coming through the door or that Altidore’s fit enough to dominate, count on the hometown midfielder to continue as a leader after a 10-goal season.

Realistic expectation: Altidore stays healthy, Terrence Boyd feasts off his rebounds, and Toronto gets back into the Top Six.


New England Revolution — The are a lot of ifs for Brad Friedel‘s men, who have to hope that Edgar Castillo’s resurgent 2018 was not a one-off, and that Carles Gil is ready to bring consistent performances from Spain.

Star player: Gil. It’s going to have to be.

Realistic expectation: The opposite of last season; A slow start will eventually turn into some young pieces finding positive roles.


Montreal Impact — Remi Garde turned the Quebecois side into a good group of competitors down the stretch, and will hope either Orji Okwonkwo or Maxi Urruti finds the form to feast on the wizardry of Saphir Taider and Ignacio Piatti.

Star player: Piatti. He’s among the most overlooked superstars in MLS history.

Realistic expectation: A playoff spot and hopes for lightning in a MLS Cup Playoffs bottle.


Philadelphia Union — This is by far Philly’s best chance to make a run in its history, from Andre Blake at the back to new playmaker Marco Fabian.

Star player: Fabian. Will he be patient enough with the Union to allow them to gel? Because he’s got the gifts to dominate the East.

Realistic expectation: A home first round playoff game.


Caleb Porter (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Columbus Crew SC — Caleb Porter’s back in Ohio, hoping to burnish his reputation by producing more consistent success than the brutal highs and lows of his tenure in Portland. Remember: Gregg Berhalter consistently out-performed the club’s budget.

Star player: Gyasi Zardes. Forget your USMNT impression of him; In MLS, he just scores goals.

Realistic expectation: A fight for the final playoff spot.


DC United — Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta get a full season together, and DC fans will rightly be dreaming of the postseason.

Star player: Acosta. Rooney’s a star and an engine, but Acosta’s the one who nearly had Paris Saint-Germain on his shirt this winter.

Realistic expectation: Multiple home playoff games.


New York City FC — Dome Torrent has not yet replicated Patrick Vieira’s success and lost David Villa to Vissel Kobe; Will an offseason of preparation and Alexandru Mitrita and Keaton Parks be the right additions to keep up playoff spirit?

Star player: Maxi Moralez. At his best, he’s MVP caliber good.

Realistic expectation: A home playoff game.


Atlanta United — There are questions here; Miguel Almiron is already showing the Premier League how fortunate Atlanta was to have a player of his elite quality, and Frank De Boer is implementing a season quite different than Tata Martino. But Atlanta won it all in Year Two, and has a gifted squad.

Star player: Josef Martinez. It’s reasonable to think the answer will be Pity Martinez by the end of the season, but you’re not the star player when the MLS single season goal record holder is returning for another season and committed to Georgia.

Realistic expectation: Compete for the Supporters’ Shield, MLS Cup, and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.


New York Red Bulls — The only question here is not how good Tyler Adams was, rather how difficult it will be to find someone to do what he did so well at a functional level. RBNY should again be one of the best teams in the league.

Star player: Kaku. A playmaker of the highest order.

Realistic expectation: Compete for every bit of hardware they want while blooding the next wave of Red Bulls through their prolific set-up.

Alejandro Romero Gamarra … Kaku! (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Transfer Deadline Day Live Blog — As It Happened

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Once a non-event, the January transfer window has become busier and busier as the teams of the Premier League deem improving their lot for the second half of the season almost as important as the first.

Makes sense, right?

[ MORE: Earlier done deals ]

We’re monitoring things at Chelsea and Newcastle amongst other venues before the window slams shut at 6 p.m. ET.

Be sure to follow the Sky Sports deadline show on NBCSN until 5 p.m. ET before the NBC Sports Soccer crew picks up for three more hours of dynamite coverage.

So here we go.


6:21 p.m. ET — Yannick Bolasie is leaving Everton on loan to Anderlecht for the rest of the season after cutting a loan with Aston Villa short.


6 p.m. ET — The window is closed, but that just means deal sheets had to be submitted to the Premier League. Stay tuned for further announcements.


5:56 p.m. ET — Celtic have pushed another deal over the line in its bid to hold off Rangers and Aberdeen and win another Scottish Premiership title.

Jeremy Toljan will join the Bhoys from Borussia Dortmund on loan, having struggled to get playing time on the Bundesliga leaders.


5:52 p.m. ET — A couple late deals coming through for peripheral PL players.

Everton’s Beni Baningime will go on loan to Wigan Athletic, having seen his playing time pretty much disappear after Sam Allardyce left Goodison Park.

And long time Leicester City man Andy King is leaving the King Power Stadium to join Derby County for the rest of the season.


5:38 p.m. ET — A bit slower now with 22 minutes to go in the window. Of course, moves can be announced after 6 p.m. ET but there is paperwork to be filed…

Will Michy Batshuayi finish his move to Palace? Jacob Murphy to West Brom?


5:11 p.m. ET — A report out of Italy has a couple of eye-popping notes.

DC United has reportedly turned down almost $12 million from Paris Saint-Germain for Luciano Acosta, hoping to get closer to $14m for the 24-year-old former Boca Juniors man.

Acosta does not hold an international roster spot for DC, who saw the playmaker team up with Wayne Rooney to push the Black-and-Red up the Eastern Conference table last season.

Acosta has 19 goals and 27 assists in 103 appearances for DC, and would help PSG plug the hole opened by Neymar’s 10-week layoff.


5:03 p.m. ET — The BBC is reporting that Fulham has landed former West Ham midfielder/defender Havard Nordtveit.

The Norwegian will arrive on loan from Hoffenheim. The 28-year-old has mostly played center back in 11 matches between the Bundesliga and Champions League this season.

Fulham also sold combustible striker Aboubakar Kamara to Malatyaspor.


4:35 p.m. ET — Woah. Michy Batshuayi has apparently reached terms with Crystal Palace in the hopes of a permanent deal.

UPDATE: Sky reports that Palace CEO Steve Parrish says the deal is ON.

The big Belgian striker, 25, would take more attention off of Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend, and hopefully feed off the crosses of the latter, Patrick Van Aanholt, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

This could be a big, big deal and a stunner of a lower-half signing.


4:32 p.m. ET — Our noted KC writer Andy Edwards has thoughts on an exciting report that longtime USMNT prospect Gedion Zelalem may move from Arsenal to Major League Soccer.

Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes has a knack for developing young talents, so it’ll be interesting to see whether this is a loan or a permanent deal (should it happen).


4:30 p.m. ET — A note from Major League Soccer, where Toronto FC is ready to splash some cash to replace outgoing megastar Sebastian Giovinco.

Remember, their last few Designated Players include Giovinco, Jermain Defoe, Jozy Altidore, and Michael Bradley…


4:22 p.m. ET — Everton’s potential sale of Idrissa Gana Gueye of Paris Saint-Germain has been quiet, but Sky Sports has broken into their coverage to say that Gana is now the subject of a $34 million bid.

The Toffees still do not plan on selling the industrious center midfielder, but he’s also 29 years old and the Toffees are neither in danger of being relegated nor finding their footing as a European club.


4:07 p.m. ET — Michy Batshuayi is one of the topics of conversation, as the Belgian striker looks to find regular playing time away from Chelsea.

Batshuayi, 25, tore up the Bundesliga on loan at Borussia Dortmund last season, but could not find the back of the goal often in a half-season at Valencia.

He’s been linked with moves to Real Betis, West Ham United, and — most unlikely — Spurs, but his wages are reportedly holding up the deal. Speaking on Sky Sports’ transfer deadline show, Sam Allardyce unsurprisingly said West Ham would be the best place for him.


3:49 p.m. ET — Some Americans in Scotland (and America) news.

A pair of players have signed with Celtic, though neither will spend the rest of this season with Brendan Rodgers‘ men.

It looks like MAC Hermann Trophy winner Andrew Gutman was not able to get the proper papers to activate his time at Celtic, as the Indiana University left back and USMNT hopeful has been sent on loan to Nashville SC.

Also signing leaving Celtic on loan is NC State’s Manny Perez, who is off on loan to North Carolina FC.

And there’s a Yank making a move to the Scottish Championship, as 23-year-old Evansville product Ian McGrath makes the move from Nashville SC to Queen of the South.


3:18 p.m. ET — It’s a loan swap deal, but the big piece moving between Monaco and Leicester City is versatile and dangerous Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans.

The 21-year-old has five goals and an assist in Ligue 1 play, and operates in the center of the park.

Going back the other way is Adrien Silva, 29, who just hasn’t settled at Leicester following a paperwork snafu at the start of the 2017-18 season.


3 p.m. ET — A move from MLS to a top European team, but it’s more for the future.

Real Salt Lake’s Taylor Booth is on the move to Bayern Munich. The U.S. U-19 midfielder, 17, joins FC Dallas youngster Chris Richards and Vancouver Whitecaps star Alphonso Davies at the Allianz Arena.

More info: Here.

Make sure to tune-in for our special Transfer Deadline Day show on NBCSN today from 5 p.m. ET as we focus on all of the moves across the Premier League in the January window. You can stream the show live online right here.