Report: Man United scouted D.C. United’s Acosta

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Count Manchester United in as the latest European giant to scout D.C. United’s star playmaker Luciano Acosta.

Just a few months after Paris Saint-Germain nearly signed the Argentine on transfer deadline day last January, Manchester United has reportedly sent a scout to watch Acosta, according to a report from Pablo Maurer with The Athletic. It’s Acosta’s fourth season at D.C. United but he’s finally lived up to the talent he has since the arrival of Wayne Rooney in July 2018. Last season Acosta had 10 goals and 17 assists, most of which came in the second half of the season.

[READ: Everton tops Arsenal with Jagielka’s goal]

So far this season, he has one goal and two assists in five matches, though he struggled in Los Angeles FC’s 4-0 rout of D.C. United last weekend.

It’s likely that Man United sent a scout to Audi Field on the advice from Rooney himself or his intermediaries, but it’s also a sign that big clubs in Europe are really starting to scout and look at players plying their trade in MLS. Miguel Almiron’s performances for Newcastle since his arrival have shown that the level in MLS has risen to the point that stars in the league can fit into the Premier League in the right setting.

MLS is an attractive setting for Premier League clubs to see if players can grow. Especially for South American talents, its a chance to move to a new culture, learn English and challenge themselves in a more physical league, all of which are similar to the Premier League. While the talent and skill level in the Premier League is clearly higher, just adapting culturally and learning how to live abroad are key skills that will make the adjustment to England much easier.

Barring any sort of big departures this summer, it doesn’t look like there’s a place for Acosta at Old Trafford at the moment. He’d certainly be behind Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata and maybe even Alexis Sanchez in the depth chart.

Per The Athletic, Acosta has drawn interest from clubs in the Middle East and Persian Gulf, England and France.

MLS preview: DCU host LAFC in possible MLS Cup preview

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Get ready for another busy weekend of MLS action, beginning Friday night…

[ MORE: Danny Rose breaks silence about facing racist abuse in Montenegro ]

D.C. United v. Los Angeles FC — Saturday, 3 p.m. ET

Based on four weeks of results, this could very well be a preview of MLS Cup 2019. A few numbers to paint a picture of early-season dominance:

  • No team in MLS has won more points than LAFC’s 13 (from five games)
  • No team in the Eastern Conference has won more than D.C. United’s 10 (from four games)
  • No team in MLS has conceded fewer goals than United’s one — one, singular
  • No team in MLS has scored more goals than LAFC’s 15
  • No player in MLS has scored more goals than Carlos Vela’s six, or assisted more than Vela’s three, thus no player in MLS has scored and assisted more goals than Vela’s nine
  • No player in MLS (other than Vela) has scored more goals than Wayne Rooney‘s four, or assisted more than Rooney’s three

Based on the above evidence, Vela and Rooney are clear frontrunners for the 2019 MVP award. At this moment in time, most would probably call their teams the frontrunners to lift MLS Cup on Nov. 10.

Vancouver Whitecaps v. LA Galaxy — Friday, 10 p.m. ET

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has vowed to play when the LA Galaxy visit stadiums with artificial playing surfaces in 2019, beginning with Friday’s trip to BC Place to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps. Despite missing more than three weeks of action due to an achilles issue last month, Ibrahimovic says he is fully fit and ready to go.

“I’m ready,” he said this week. “No consequences [from] my issue I had a couple of weeks ago. If I feel good, I will play.”

The big Swede missed just four games upon signing the Galaxy in 2018, two of which were played on artificial surfaces and one for a “suspension” for not playing in the All-Star Game, on turf. Despite missing two games during the injury, Ibrahimovic is off to a quick start with three goals scored in the two games he has played.

Toronto FC v. Chicago Fire — 3 p.m. ET

Toronto FC have, to the tune of three wins from their first three games, bounced back from a disastrous 2018 season which saw them miss the playoffs by 14 points. The Reds have gotten key contributions from the likes of Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, before the arrival — and stunning debut — of Alejandro Pozuelo.

With the Spaniard now in tow, a backline which was reduced to rubble last year back to full strength, Greg Vanney’s side has look downright dominant at times. Having scored no fewer than three goals in any game this season, the sky could be the limit once again as Pozuelo quickly acclimates to life in MLS offers his best impression of Sebastian Giovinco’s gaudy goal and assist numbers.

Full MLS schedule

Friday

Vancouver Whitecaps v. LA Galaxy — 10 p.m. ET

Saturday

New York City FC v. Montreal Impact — 1 p.m. ET
D.C. United v. Los Angeles FC — 3 p.m. ET
Toronto FC v. Chicago Fire — 3 p.m. ET
New York Red Bulls v. Minnesota United — 7 p.m. ET
Columbus Crew SC v. New England Revolution — 7:30 p.m. ET
Orlando City SC v. Colorado Rapids — 7:30 p.m. ET
Philadelphia Union v. FC Dallas — 7:30 p.m. ET
San Jose Earthquakes v. Portland Timbers — 8 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders v. Real Salt Lake — 10 p.m. ET

Sunday

FC Cincinnati v. Sporting Kansas City — 3 p.m. ET

Rooney’s impossible free kick wins it for DCU in Orlando (video)

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It wasn’t the first time Wayne Rooney pulled off a nearly impossible feat since he came to MLS last summer, and it almost certainly won’t be the last time he does so either.

[ MORE: What did we learn in the Premier League? (video) ]

Just like his first bout of jaw-dropping MLS heroism (remember this?!), Rooney’s latest miracle sealed all three point for D.C. United, in a 2-1 win away to Orlando City SC on Sunday. It was the Black and Red’s first away win since May 19, 2018, a span of 11 games stretching back to well before Rooney’s arrival.

It wasn’t the game-saving tackle/60-yard assist we’ve come to know and expect from Rooney, but it was still a free kick scored from a spot on the field that shouldn’t ever be scored.

First things first, let’s note that goalkeeper Brian Rowe never moved his feet until it was too late, and he makes the easy catch if he gets a better any read on the ball whatsoever. Beyond that, we could do the typical “was he shooting or crossing?” debate, but that’s long since been played out. We could also argue over whether or not it should have been a foul, thus a free kick, in the first place, but Dom Dwyer clearly makes a wayward attempt to kick the ball, which if deemed dangerous by the referee can be whistled as a foul, per the Laws of the Game.

Instead, let’s take a second to appreciate the impact Rooney has had (14W-5D-4L) on DCU since his debut last July, and contrast that record with their record pre-Rooney (2W-5D-7L). This is what you call a superstar, and that was a “superstar call” given to Rooney by Armando Villarreal. This is how the sports world works.

[ MORE: Fate playing its part in Liverpool’s title challenge ]

Anyway, Steve Birnbaum bagged the opener after just six minutes, and though Orlando were the leading aggressors and out-shot DCU 16-4 (5-3 on target), Ben Olsen’s side found a way to hold on for dear life away from home — even after Dwyer’s goal in the 63rd (WATCH HERE) — and grind out three points.

That’s what championship-worthy teams do, and DCU are a championship-worthy team with Rooney at the helm.

MLS Preview: Rooney, D.C. United looking to keep pace atop East

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Major League Soccer closes out the month of March with a number of intriguing matchups, including a Cascadia Cup battle, a chance for FC Cincinnati to set a new MLS expansion record, and D.C. United hosting former teammate Nani and Orlando City.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

In addition, six teams remain unbeaten: Los Angeles FC, the Seattle Sounders, and the Houston Dynamo in the Western Conference and D.C. United, Toronto FC and New York City FC in the Eastern Conference.

Here’s a look at some of the top storylines for MLS Week 5:


Orlando City v. D.C. United — Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET

Wayne Rooney and D.C. United have quietly had a strong start to the 2019 MLS season. D.C. already has wins over both Atlanta United and Real Salt Lake, two playoff teams from a year ago, and comes into this weekend’s matchup with a week to rest. In addition to the seven goals scored in three games is the fact that D.C. United hasn’t allowed a single goal yet. Meanwhile, Orlando is coming off a confidence-building win on the road at the New York Red Bulls, with Sacha Kljestan scoring and Nani making his debut. Now returning home, Orlando City is looking to record another victory and end D.C. United’s unbeaten start.


Columbus Crew v. Atlanta United — Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET

Coming off a bye week, Atlanta United looks to secure it’s first win of the season with a trip to the Columbus Crew. It’s been a rough start to the season for Atlanta United, with struggles in both MLS and earlier in CONCACAF Champions League play. Atlanta United has missed Miguel Almiron but perhaps even bigger, it’s missed manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino. New manager Frank De Boer hasn’t yet figured out his best team, but he may get a good chance to see that against Columbus.

Caleb Porter’s side suffered a surprising 3-0 defeat to the Philadelphia Union last week and starting goalkeeper Zack Steffan is recovering from an injury that kept him out of U.S. Men’s National Team camp. Perhaps it could be the first sign of cracks in a Crew side struggling for goals.

Vancouver Whitecaps v. Seattle Sounders — Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET

The Seattle Sounders are off to a strong start, but the Cascadia Cup can bring out the best in the underdog. Vancouver is winless, 0-3 to start the season while the Sounders are the opposite. Jordan Morris has made a successful recovery from injury while Raul Ruidiaz and Nicolas Lodeiro look as good as ever. In Vancouver, with all its offseason changes, it is taking time for their new signings to all gel together. However, Saturday’s game could set a fun new record. Whitecaps designated player In-Beom Hwang could face Sounders midfielder Kim Kee-Hee in what would be a high-profile dual between the two South Korean stars.

Full MLS Schedule (All Times Eastern)

Friday

Toronto FC v. New York City FC – 8 p.m.

Saturday

Chicago Fire v. New York Red Bulls – 1 p.m.

New England Revolution v. Minnesota United – 2 p.m.

Sporting KC v. Montreal Impact – 3 p.m.

San Jose Earthquakes v. LAFC – 3:30 p.m.

FC Cincinnati v. Philadelphia Union – 7:30 p.m.

Columbus Crew v. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.

Colorado Rapids v. Houston Dynamo – 9 p.m.

Real Salt Lake v. FC Dallas – 9 p.m.

Vancouver Whitecaps v. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m.

Sunday

Orlando City v. D.C. United – 6 p.m.

LA Galaxy v. Portland Timbers – 9 p.m.

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.