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D.C. United puts itself in an early hole, then goes downhill from there

CHARLOTTE — In the 13th minute of D.C. United’s 3-0 defeat to Charlotte FC on Wednesday, captain Steven Birnbaum took a ball off the nose and watched helplessly as it caromed into his net for yet another early deficit this harsh summer.

By the end of the night, the cold reality of managing a deficient team had smacked Coach Wayne Rooney squarely in the face.

In Rooney’s second match in charge, United was not nearly good enough to beat an expansion side that, aside from a few spells, controlled the festivities before an announced 31,520 at Bank of America Stadium.