WASHINGTON, September, 24 – Dwayne De Rosario scored a stunning first-half hat trick in just nine minutes to lead D.C. United to a convincing 4-1 win over Real Salt Lake at RFK stadium on Saturday night before a crowd of 16,367.
De Rosario, who also assisted on Andy Najar’s opening goal, is now Major League Soccer’s scoring leader with 13 goals. And with 11 assists on the season, the Canadian striker is a potential candidate for the league’s MVP award.
“We can talk about Dwayne [De Rosario], but both Andy [Najar] and Dwayne had exceptional performances,” said United head coach Ben Olsen. “The thing with DeRo is that I am not even surprised anymore with some of the stuff he does. I’ve seen it as a fan of his and I’ve also seen it being on the other side for ten years. This is what he does and this is why we wanted him. He’s just been exceptional and the guys have jumped on his back as well and rode the wave today.”
The win, brought Real Salt Lake’s five-game winning streak to a stunning halt.
The hat trick, accomplished by the 31st minute, was the fastest from the start of a game in league history.
De Rosario’s hat trick however was not the fastest in MLS history. That feat is owned by Harut Karapetyan, who notched three goals in five minutes for the Los Angeles Galaxy in an 8-1 win over the Dallas Burn in 1998.
United began its destruction of the Utah club in the 13th minute when Honduran midfielder Andy Najar collected a defense-slitting pass from De Rosario. Najar ran 15 yards with the ball and then right-footed his shot past former United goalie, Nick Rimando, for his fourth goal of the campaign. De Rosario’s is now just three assist behind leader David Beckham.
It got better for United nine minutes later.
This time the youngster set up the veteran. Najar’s cross from the right flank found De Rosario, who sent a header past Rimando from just outside the six-yard box. Josh Wolff also earned an assist on the play.
Five minutes later De Rosario punished the Real Salt backline again. Wolff laid a short ball into the path of De Rosario at the top of the box, and from 20 yards out the striker fired a high shot into the net to the left of Rimando.
And it didn’t stop there.
Four minutes later De Rosario had his hat trick as he fired a free kick from 32 yards out past the helpless visiting keeper.
Real Salt Lake coach, Jason Kries must have been regretted that he had started pretty much a reserve team.
The red hot Real Salt Lake rested six starters, including its two leading goal-scorers, Fabian Espindola (nine goals) and Saborio (ten goals).
The club has still failed to win at RFK in seven tries.
“I was surprised when I came in and saw that [Real Salt Lake’s lineup change],” Olsen said. “But that was their choice. Is it disrespectful? I guess you could look at it that way. I think the players looked at it that way and maybe that charged them up a little more. Again, I thought it was a good response to a very emotional tie on Wednesday.”
De Rosario has scored 10 goals and six assists since joining United from the New York Red Bulls in exchange for Dax McCarty and cash. He left the field in the 65th minute to a standing ovation and was replaced by Joseph Ngwenya.
With New York beating Portland, United is still not in the playoff picture but has two games in hand over the Red Bulls.
United goalie Bill Hamid couldn’t preserve the shutout as late substitute Alvaro Saborio shot from close-range.
Olsen, who was livid after United’s dismal 2-2 tie with Chivas USA midweek, benched top goal-scorer Charlie Davies and midfielder Santino Quaranta.
Left-sided defender Marc Burch was back in the United starting lineup and midfielder Stephen King had an impressive game.
United now hit the road for three games, starting at the Philadelphia Union on Thursday. The team then returns to RFK for its last three games of regular season. The club has performed better on the road this season but will need points at home if they want to make the post-season.
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