HYATTSVILLE – After ending last season losing six of their last seven games and finishing with a 7-9 record, the Washington Redskins started the offseason signing period making moves to add experience to their young roster.
The week began with reports that the Redskins were interested in several trade and free agent options at quarterback. With last year’s starter Alex Smith’s status to play at any point of this upcoming season still unknown due to injury and the inexperience of backup Colt McCoy, Washington had a void in the position.
Ultimately, they completed a trade with the Denver Broncos for quarterback Case Keenum and a seventh-round pick in the NFL Draft in exchange for a sixth-round pick on March 13. Keenum, 31, is a six-year veteran who has recorded 1,144 completions for 12,661 yards passing and 64 career touchdowns.
As free agency opened up on March 14, Washington was quick in picking up safety Landon Collins, formally from the New York Giants. The six-foot safety is a three-time Pro Bowler and last season, recorded four passes defensed, 96 combined tackles and one forced fumble.
More depth was added to the secondary by the signing of previously-retired cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The two-time Pro Bowler has played for five different teams since 2018 and has recorded 451 combined tackles and 30 interceptions. He retired midway through the 2018 season with the Oakland Raiders but now says he is ready to compete for a roster spot.
“I really wasn’t done, to be honest,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “I just had a lot of emotions (last year). At the end of the day, I know I still have a lot in the tank, you know, make sure I maximize that.”
UNITED’S ROONEY NETS HAT TRICK IN 5-0 WIN
Striker Wayne Rooney becomes the third Englishman to complete a hat trick in Major League Soccer history as D.C. United thrashed Real Salt Lake 5-0 on March 16.
Following their scoreless draw at Yankee Stadium against New York City FC on March 10, the Black-and-Red returned home to Audi Field displaying a flurry of offense, led by their captain. Rooney buried a penalty kick in the 34th minute after RSL centerback Marcelo Silva was called for a foul for stepping on Paul Arriola’s ankle.
Seven minutes later, Rooney would score again after Argentine defender Leonardo Jara intercepted a pass in Real Salt Lake’s half and would send a streaking pass to the striker. Rooney finished off the scoring chance by chipping the ball past a diving Nick Rimando for his second goal. In the 63rd minute, the 33-year-old added his third goal, completing a passing combination play from midfielders Luciano Acosta and Júnior Moreno.
“To score a hat trick is always great, I’m happy to score three, but I’m pleased for the team,” Rooney said. “It was a great victory for us. After preparing in the preseason and getting seven points in the first three before break, it’s a good start.”
United continued its dominating play with new signee Lucas Rodríguez hitting an over-25-yard volley off a corner kick for his first goal of the season. Costa Rican midfielder Ulises Segura capped off the victory with an 81st-minute goal. Salt Lake played a large portion of the second half with nine men following red cards to Silva and Jefferson Savarino.
The Black-and-Red will have a week off before heading on the road to play Orlando City SC on March 31. They return home on April 6 to take on LAFC.
CAPITALS FALL TO FIRST-PLACE TAMPA BAY
The Washington Capitals surrendered four goals in the first period and were unable to bounce back, falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-3 on March 16.
Washington had won six of their last seven games coming into the contest against the top-ranked Lightning, who have lost only 13 times this season. Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson scored first eight minutes into the contest before Alex Killorn added two more in the first period. Defender John Carlson scored his 12th goal of the season, reducing Washington’s deficit.
Alexander Ovechkin added a power-play goal and a second goal in the third period as Washington looked to surge forward. However, it was not enough as the Lightning scored three more goals in the third period, including two empty net scores. Killorn completed a hat trick in the win over the Capitals.
“It’s disappointing to end up with a loss like that,” Washington Head Coach Todd Reirden said. “I thought we did some decent things as the game went on, but our first period, we didn’t manage the puck well enough to give ourselves a chance.”
The Capitals will have a chance to avenge their loss to Tampa Bay at home on March 20.