Footballer Wayne Rooney experienced the dizzying highs and lows of his MLS career in equal measure when he scored his first goal for DC United but then suffered a sickening broken nose defending a corner.
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Former Manchester United and England ace Rooney, 32, captained the side to a 2-1 win over Colorado Rapids on Sunday, smashing past former teammate Tim Howard in the Rapids goal on 33 minutes to score the game’s first goal at Audi Field in their Major League Soccer (MLS) meeting.
The strike was his first since making the switch Stateside from boyhood club Everton last month and saw DC go into the break ahead. But a bigger, more toe-curling break lay ahead however, when he was called back to defend a corner in second half stoppage time, colliding with 6ft 7in Colorado colossus Axel Sjoberg, the impact shattering Rooney’s nose and causing a gruesome gash over his left eye, leaving the striker with blood streaming down his face.
The wounds formed a mask of blood on Rooney’s face. Receiving treatment on the touchline which featured a head strap, he was seen to recoil when medical staff appeared to squeeze his nose too tight. However, the hard man made light of the incident on his social media accounts, hinting he accepted the incident as part and parcel of the game.
“Big night at Audi Field,“ he wrote. “3 points. First game as captain. First goal. Broken nose. 5 stitches. Can’t wait for next game.” Rooney also posted cheeky tweets that played down his injuries.
And a broken nose and 5 stitches 🙈🤪
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) July 29, 2018
During the rest of the match, and deep into the 2nd half, Kellyn Acosta equalized for the Rapids, before a 90th minute own goal from Niki Jackson dramatically gave the Washington side all three points.
Rooney’s bravery gained respect plaudits from his coach Ben Olsen. “I don’t think it’s the first time he has bled. He is a pretty tough guy,” Olsen said, The Washington Post reported. “It shows you what this means to him right now. He’s in the box, putting his face on the line, understanding that’s a big moment.”
DC United currently sit bottom of the table in the Eastern Conference MLS table after the result. Colorado also sit 11th in the Western Conference, one spot of bottom place.