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Wayne Rooney admits playoff hopes are ‘gone’ after 6-0 loss

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D.C. United suffered their third consecutive defeat on Saturday after falling 6-0 against the Philadelphia Union at Audi Field. 

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Newly appointed head coach Wayne Rooney looked on from the sidelines as goals from Mikael Uhre, Daniel Gazdag, Julian Carranza and Cory Burke deepened D.C. United’s hold of last place on the Eastern Conference table. 

Rooney knew taking over the team at its current state would not be an easy feat, but remained hopeful he could turn things around. The club has now gone 1W-4L-1D since he officially took over, forcing the former player to “be realistic.”

“I knew the difficulties we’d have and where the season was,” Rooney said. “Of course I knew that and I think we felt if I could come in and get a run of form there’s a possibility of making the playoffs. I think that’s gone. Let’s be realistic on that.”

Rooney is now looking ahead to the offseason, insisting he needs new players to revamp the current squad.

“The important thing is to build a squad who can compete,” he said. “Of course we need more players. I know that. I think the owners know that. We have to keep trying to build and I have to keep trying to push these players from now till the end of the season to make sure we improve. And then I have to push the owners in January to get players who can compete in this league.”

In reality, D.C. United just saw one of their busiest Secondary Transfer Windows, bringing in Schalke’s Victor Palsson and Crystal Palace player Christian Benteke as Designated Players to stand alongside Taxi Fountas. But the head coach is not satisfied. 

“Of course there’s no relegation. It’s quite different to England,” Rooney said. “I know that but them players, there’s no way I’ll allow them to take the foot off the pedal. From now until the end of the season we have to compete in every game.”

Even with the embarrassing 6-0 defeat, Rooney managed to find one positive note: Chris Durkin. The coach highlighted the homegrown midfielder, adding he’s the “only player who really can hold his head high” after a second half that Rooney labeled “not acceptable” by the rest. 

“Every player in that second half was a complete stranger to what I’ve seen in training, what I’ve seen in previous games. And you can lose games of football, that can happen. But there’s a manner in how that happens. … We spent a lot of time getting the team organized and in that second half, I didn’t recognize my players.

“The players, I know tomorrow they’ve got a meet-the-fans day which, it’s not good, after this game. But they have to go and they have to take responsibility as well as myself. Of course, I take responsibility for this result and we have to move on from it.”

D.C. United have eight games left to play before concluding the 2022 Major League Soccer season. They head to Mercedes-Benz Stadium next to face Atlanta United on Sunday. 

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