In Wayne Rooney’s debut, DC United rallies for a stunning win

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Minutes earlier than DC United’s match in opposition to Orlando City started Sunday, Wayne Rooney climbed the steps behind Audi Field’s south aim and took within the heat welcome from a gathering crowd hungry for him to carry the MLS membership’s sinking fortunes.

Four years in the past, Rooney took the identical quick path as a participant tasked with turning a good staff into a championship one. Now as head coach, he faces a larger check. What transpired in entrance of him on a misty late afternoon started with despair however ended with unbridled pleasure.

In Rooney’s debut, United scored twice in second-half stoppage time for a 2-1 victory. United (6-12-3) ended a four-game winless streak and gained for simply the second time since early May.

Chris Durkin scored the equalizer on a one-timer, arrange by Ola Kamara. In the dying seconds, Taxi Fountas volleyed in Kimarni Smith’s cross, triggering bedlam at Buzzard Point.

As a participant, Rooney bedeviled Orlando (8-9-6) with objectives, together with a 60-yarder, and a exceptional tackle-assist sequence that cemented his place in United historical past. As a coach, his affect Sunday had limits. But as one other defeat neared, the magic returned.

Rooney’s debut wasn’t the one one Sunday. Ravel Morrison, a well-traveled attacking midfielder who performed for Rooney at Derby County, began.

Rooney caught with newly acquired striker Miguel Berry and allowed Fountas, the staff’s main scorer and prime creator, to drift between the strains. Almost 4 weeks after recording a hat trick at Orlando, Fountas had his house closed down rapidly for most of this conflict.

Jackson Hopkins, an 18-year-old homegrown midfielder who has caught Rooney’s eye, began for the fourth straight time.

Orlando went forward within the ninth minute, the fifth time in seven matches United has conceded a aim within the opening quarter-hour. After a DC giveaway within the midfield, Alexandre Pato slipped the ball forward to Júnior Urso in stride for a one-timer from the highest nook of the field. With goalkeeper Rafael Romo effectively off his line, Urso delicately chipped it into the far side-netting for his third aim.

In the twenty eighth minute, Romo was caught surging ahead on a lengthy ball and, amid a mad scramble by his defenders to cowl an open internet, Pato missed excessive. Ten minutes later, Orlando’s Benji Michel missed an open internet from shut vary.

United created no high-quality possibilities within the first half and was fortunate to enter the break trailing by only one aim. Another latest arrival, Chilean winger Martín Rodríguez, entered initially of the second half.

Fountas had a wonderful likelihood to equalize within the 61st minute when he one-timed Durkin’s cross from six yards. But goalkeeper Pedro Gallese made a sensational save, blocking the ball together with his trailing leg.

United buzzed with vitality and alternative. It didn’t appear to be sufficient. But in stoppage time, that persistence paid off.

Here’s what else to find out about United’s victory:

Romo made his eighth consecutive begin and Jon Kempin was the standard backup, however with the acquisition of David Ochoa from Real Salt Lake final week, the pecking order is about to vary.

Ochoa, 21, is scheduled to journey to Charlotte on Wednesday and appears virtually sure to start out. In that case, Romo would drop to No. 2 on the depth chart and Kempin would now not be in uniform.

Bill Hamid, the longtime starter who’s within the ultimate yr of his contract, continues to rehabilitate a hand damage that required surgical procedure on June 30. The preliminary timetable for his return was two to 3 months.

Estrada left off the roster once more

Forward Michael Estrada was a wholesome scratch for the second straight sport, a signal United in all probability is planning to finish his season-long mortgage from Mexican membership Toluca quickly. The Ecuadorian nationwide staff member has 4 objectives and 4 assists in 16 league matches (11 begins) however hasn’t scored since May 21.

United has an choice to buy his contract after this season for $5 million. By returning him to Toluca, the membership would clear senior roster house, together with a global slot. …

Forward Nigel Robertha, who has one aim and three assists in 14 matches (5 begins), was additionally scratched. He is underneath contract by means of 2023. …

Midfielders Russell Canouse (leg damage) and Ted Ku-DiPietro (non-covid sickness restoration) had been unavailable. Midfielder Victor Palsson, acquired from German membership Schalke final week, is awaiting a work visa.

Sunday’s sport was the beginning of six matches in 21 days for United. On Wednesday, DC will go to growth Charlotte FC (8-12-2), whose dwelling sport Saturday night time in opposition to the Columbus Crew was suspended because of thunderstorms. (The resumption date has not been introduced.)

United will host the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, then face its most difficult stretch of the season: on the New England Revolution (6-7-9) on Aug. 13, at Los Angeles FC (15-4-3) on Aug. 16 and residential vs. the Philadelphia Union (12-2-9) on Aug. 20.

Starting on the six-minute mark, a minute of applause was carried out in reminiscence of Len Oliver, a National Soccer Hall of Famer and longtime determine in DC-area soccer who died July 24. He was 88. Family members in attendance wore jerseys with No. 6, Oliver’s quantity as a participant.

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