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MLS suspends Wayne Rooney for another match in midst of playoff race

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MLS suspends Wayne Rooney for another match in midst of playoff race

Wayne Rooney has been suspended by MLS for an additional match following his actions that warranted a red card in last Wednesday's match against the New York Red Bulls. 

In the opening 30 minutes of the contest, the D.C. United striker elbowed Red Bull Cristian Cásseres Jr. in the penalty area during a corner kick. Rooney was removed from the match via a red card and forced him to leave the contest. United had to play down a man where they eventually lost 2-1.

With Rooney's hit and removal being the result of a blow to the head, it is mandated that serve a one-game suspension when the club played the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. MLS's disciplinary committee felt that Rooney's behavior deserved for him to miss another game.

"Anyone who knows the game of football can see what the intent was. It was to try to ease the player out... Obviously disappointed to get a red card, but also disappointed because I don't agree with the decision," Rooney told reporters after his red card on Wednesday. "I need to be careful with what I say after what I said last week."

Rooney referring to an altercation he had just a week prior where he cursed at the fourth official after coming off the field during a match. Afterward, he also criticized MLS on Twitter for travel issues. 

His suspension will have him missing United's contest against the Montreal Impact. 

His absence against Montreal is a huge blow as United is making a push to the MLS Playoffs. Currently, D.C. (39 points) is fifth in the Eastern Conference table and Montreal (34 points) is eighth with only the top seven making it to the postseason. 

After Montreal, there are only four games left on United's docket on the 2019 MLS regular season. Those also being the last four MLS matches that Rooney will dawn the Black and Red as he is leaving to serve as a player-coach for Derby County.

Needless to say, England's all-time leader in goals is heading out with a bang. 


DC United acquires midefielder Julian Gressel from Atlanta United

DC United acquires midefielder Julian Gressel from Atlanta United

One week after paying a record-breaking transfer fee to acquire Edison Flores, DC United added another midfielder to the roster in the form of Julian Gressel. 

DC United acquired Gressel from Atlanta United via transfer Tuesday for $650,000 in 2020 Target Allocation Money (TAM) and $100,000 in TAM for 2021. Additional compensation could be owed to Atlanta based on performance incentives. 

Gressel was the eighth overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft and has led the league in assists since debuting with Atlanta in 2017. Over his first 98 career appearances, he's recorded 32 assists to go along with 15 career goals. 

"[Gressel] has impressed throughout his time in MLS and has been a major component to Atlanta’s success in the league since 2017," DC GM and VP of Soccer Operations Dave Kasper said in a statement. "Last year, he led Atlanta in assists and chances created while also scoring eight goals so we’re looking forward to adding his impressive goal creating ability and eye for goal to our roster in 2020 and beyond."

Gressel was the 2017 MLS Rookie of the Year after scoring five goals and recorded nine assists in his first 32 appearances as a pro. 

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D.C. United pays record-breaking transfer fee to sign Peruvian midfielder Edison Flores

D.C. United pays record-breaking transfer fee to sign Peruvian midfielder Edison Flores

As D.C. United looks to replace the production of its three leading goalscorers from last season, including England legend Wayne Rooney, the club announced the signing of Peruvian midfielder Edison Flores Tuesday. To acquire Flores, the Black-and-Red paid Morelia, his former club in Mexico, a $5 million transfer fee — a new club record for D.C. United — according to Steven Goff of the Washington Post. 

The 25-year-old appeared in three matches for Peru’s national team in the 2018 World Cup, which Flores helped his country qualify for with five goals in 14 appearances during World Cup qualification. Flores also netted two goals for Peru’s national team in the 2019 Copa America. 

Flores' contract with D.C. United is for five years for a team-high $2.1 million, according to Goff. The Peruvian will occupy one of the team’s three designated player spots. 

The Black-and-Red have one remaining designated player spot, which they could use for another high-profile acquisition before the season begins on Feb. 29, or during the summer transfer window. 

D.C. United will enter the 2020 season without the services of three of its most prolific attacking options from last year. Rooney, who scored 11 goals in 2019, returned to his native  England for a role as a player-coach with Derby County. Midfielders Luciano Acosta and Lucas Rodriguez, who both scored six goals last season, also left the club.

There's hope that Flores can help offset the effects of that lost production.

“We are excited to add an international player of Edison's pedigree to the team ahead of the 2020 season," Dave Kasper, D.C. United General Manager and VP of Soccer Operations, said in a release. "He is an exciting and dynamic attacking player who creates and scores goals. What has really impressed us is his commitment to the team...he is a versatile and gritty two-way player who plays with a real pulse.