Rossi hat trick, Rooney red card turn clash of MLS conference leaders into LAFC romp

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/soccer/players/732622/" data-ylk="slk:Diego Rossi">Diego Rossi</a> (left) spearheaded LAFC's dismantling of <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/soccer/teams/dc-united/" data-ylk="slk:D.C. United">D.C. United</a> on Saturday. (Getty)
Diego Rossi (left) spearheaded LAFC's dismantling of D.C. United on Saturday. (Getty)

A battle between conference leaders turned into a moment Los Angeles Football Club laid down the gauntlet.

LAFC traveled to the nation’s capital and thumped D.C. United 4-0 behind a hat trick from Diego Rossi and a red card for D.C. star Wayne Rooney early in the second half.

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The result makes it five wins in six for LAFC, with a draw at Yankee Stadium against New York City FC three weeks ago the lone blemish. It’s early, but the Black and Gold are setting the pace atop the league with 16 points.

They took care of business early on Saturday. Carlos Vela scored the first goal in the 15th minute, making his way into a dangerous area atop the box and getting onto his favored left foot:

Vela orchestrated the second goal midway through the first half, making a run down the right side and using the outside of his foot to play in Rossi, who ran hard to finish the chance:

Rossi scored again five minutes later, and any chance of a D.C. comeback all but went out the window in the 52nd minute, when Rooney was sent off thanks to video assistant referee after a reckless challenge against Rossi:

The D.C. United captain immediately knew he was in the wrong and accepted his sending off about as peaceably as you’ll ever see a player do so.

Rossi capped off his hat trick in the 76th minute by taking a touch and finishing a feed from Christian Ramirez.

D.C. United had been unbeaten in four matches, and the club has been terrific since Rooney joined up midway through last season, so they’ll likely be fine going forward.

Saturday’s result was more about LAFC, which has already won three games by three or more goals and looks every bit a contender to win MLS Cup, if not the outright favorite.

Yes, it’s early. Tell that to anyone trying to stop them at the moment.

Joey Gulino is the editor of Yahoo Soccer and moonlights as a writer. Follow him on Twitter at @JGulinoYahoo.

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