Rooney runs riot in Red Devils rout
Wayne Rooney scored a 21-minute hat-trick as Manchester United thrashed Seattle Sounders 7-0 in a friendly at CenturyLink Field.
It might not make Seattle coach Sigi Schmid feel any better that United manager Alex Ferguson thought the final tally wasn't representative of the effort Schmid's club gave.
It was, though, a statement on depth of talent between the champions of England and Major League Soccer.
Michael Owen beat former Premier League foe Kasey Keller on a header early in the first half, then Rooney overwhelmed Seattle's reserves in the second half with three goals.
''It was a strange game because I don't think the score line was reflective of the chances,'' Ferguson said.
The final 45 minutes became a display of United's talent in what became a glorified scrimmage and not the competitive first half where Seattle very easily could have found itself ahead. It helped the likes of Rooney, Ji-Sung Park and Mame Biram Diouf were coming off the United bench to run roughshod over the Sounders, leaving Schmid to proclaim the six-goal eruption his ''most embarrassing loss personally.''
Rooney's hat trick with goals in the 51st, 69th and 72nd minutes was accompanied by goals from Park, Diouf and Gabriel Obertan.
''I need to apologize to our fans because i thought we embarrassed ourselves in the second half, not to take anything away from Man United because I think they are a great team and they scored some great goals and the movement was superb,'' Schmid said. ''But we wanted to reward all of our guys on the team, we wanted to play everybody and in retrospect that was a mistake.''
The match in Seattle was the second stop on United's preseason tour of the United States. They'll go to Chicago for a match with the Fire on Saturday, then face the MLS All-Stars at Red Bull Arena next Wednesday. United will close out its tour with a Champions League final rematch against FC Barcelona.
But it'll be hard to top the scoring outburst in Seattle.
It started with Owen sliding a header past Keller in the 15th minute after Seattle controlled the opening moments of the match. Owen's finish in the 15th minute was as stunning as the cross that came off the foot of defender Patrice Evra. Making an overlapping run on the wing, Evra edged ahead of Seattle defender James Riley, who appeared to shove Evra inside the penalty box. Before he fell to the turf, Evra managed to send a left-footed cross to a waiting Owen and headed it past a stunned Keller.
While Keller was beat in that moment, he got the better of Owen late in the first half, making a save that showed the 41-year-old still had plenty left. Owen slipped through an offside trap and moved in alone on Keller, but his shot from about seven yards out was pushed aside by the Seattle veteran.
The save kept the score 1-0, though both sides missed chances.
''It could have easily been 2-1, two-all,'' Manchester midfielder Ryan Giggs said. ''The second half the lads played well, and every chance they got they scored. That's sometimes what separates great players from good players.
Diouf's goal started the rout in the 49th minute followed by Rooney two minutes later, putting his shot into the roof of the net and out of reach for backup Seattle goalkeeper Terry Boss. Rooney again scored in the 69th minute when he ran unmarked into the middle of the box and ricocheted a left-footed shot off the far post and past Boss. It was part of a 3-minute barrage of goals, followed by Park's goal scored when Rooney rolled the ball off his heel as the defense collapsed leaving the South Korean wide open.
Rooney then capped his night off scoring in the 72nd minute off a scramble in front of the net.
''Yeah it was nice to score. We work hard so it's nice to get results and nice to score,'' Rooney said.
This was United's third visit to Seattle, having played the NASL Sounders in the early 1980s, then playing an exhibition against Celtic in 2003. The six days spent in Seattle was Man United's longest stint during its tour, using the facilities of the Seattle Seahawks for training.
''We've been told that Seattle fans are the best in the MLS, and I think we witnessed that tonight,'' Giggs said.
Manchester United was the third major European soccer power Seattle has hosted, joining Chelsea and Barcelona in 2009. And Seattle is still seeking its first goal, having now been shutout in all three exhibitions.
Not that the Sounders didn't have chances on Wednesday night. Fredy Montero and Riley both had consecutive point-blank shots blocked away by Andrew Lindegarrd in the first half and reserve United goalkeeper Ben Amos made impressive saves on Michael Fucito and Pat Noonan in the second half.
Seattle trial player Mrisho Alfani Ngassa's sliding attempt in the 89th minute went flying over the bar missing a wide open net.
''Unfortunately, we embarrassed ourselves. Forget about it as soon as possible and understand when you get those opportunities against teams of that caliber, you can't put together performances like that,'' Noonan said. ''We were meant to enjoy it, and it didn't turn out that way at all.''