Wayne Rooney’s Goal Lifts D.C. United to 1-0 Win Over Toronto FC
After defeating FC Dallas on Saturday afternoon, D.C. United continued their home dominance with another 1-0 shutout. This time, D.C. shut out the defending MLS Cup champions Toronto FC on Wednesday night at Audi Field. The difference was a free kick goal from Wayne Rooney, the catalyst behind the club’s second half turnaround.
D.C. United remains above the playoff line and extends their Eastern Conference standings lead over the Montreal Impact by four points, putting the latter on the ropes. The win was D.C. United’s fourth win in a row and extended their unbeaten streak to eight games. It was also their third shutout in their last four games. D.C. United’s record improves to 13-11-8, good for 47 points.
“It’s important to win games in different ways if you’re gonna make a run in the postseason,” preached head coach Ben Olsen after the game.
It’s one thing to be chasing for a playoff spot late in the regular season. It’s a whole different thing when you’re chasing for that playoff spot while going through early-season struggles. D.C. United posted an abysmal 2-5-7 record in their first 14 matches. Their record in the last 18 contests 11-3-4. It’s a testament to their hard work, but Olsen is aware that more work needs to be done.
“The last two months have been a lot of fun but the job’s not done,” Olsen explained. “We need to continue this form and off the home stretch with a win to get into the playoffs. We’ve had the pressure on us for two months but it’ll be nice to put some pressure on Montreal now.”
D.C. United’s first good chance came in the sixth minute. Nick DeLeon tried to plant it just inside the right post on the lower right corner but Toronto FC goalkeeper Alexander Bono was there to make a diving stop.
— D.C. United (@dcunited) October 17, 2018
In the eighth, it was Luciano Acosta who had a great look but he just missed to the left.
Then on the other side, it was the vistors who had a good scoring chance to get on the board. In the 11th minute Toronto FC had a corner kick. Bill Hamid was there to stop a header from Nick Hagglund.
— D.C. United (@dcunited) October 17, 2018
D.C. United was given a free kick when Zoltan Stieber was fouled in the 18th mintue by Hagglund. This time they capitalized thanks to Wayne Rooney. Rooney’s kick went top-shelf right corner for his 10th goal of the season to put the home club up 1-0.
Wayne. Freaking. Rooney. ?
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 17, 2018
“We see it a lot in training. The percentage of shots that hit thenet is impressive,” said Olsen. “It’s exciting to have a player like that in those moments and today we needed that moment.”
“I was definitely expecting him to hit it, but that finish was world class,” added defender Nick DeLeon. “I was smiling from ear to ear, it was an unbelivable finish by Wayne. I think it was a good momentum boost for the guys as well. We were defending a lot so that goal was big. It was a big time goal from a world class player.”
There was a slight scare in the 33rd minute. After Bill Hamid made a stop on a cross, he came down. He was in pain for a few minutes but remained in the game. Olsen said after the game that he should be okay and will be evaluated tomorrow.
In the 36th minute, Christopher Durkin found Yamil Asad. Asad put the ball in the net but the play was whistled for offsides.
The score would remain 1-0 to end the first half. Toronto FC outshot D.C. United 7-6 overall and 3-2 on target. Hamid came out of the locker room with the rest of his team and was in net to begin the second half.
D.C. United had a golden opportunity to be up 2-0 but the post had other ideas. Luciano Acosta was victim to the left post in the 57th minute.
— D.C. United (@dcunited) October 18, 2018
United kept things under control on the defensive end. The offense was unable to double their lead and Rooney was denied a brace. Rooney also had some good chances in the previous match, recording seven shots while finishing with four on Wednesday. Rooney said after the game that he wasn’t frustrated with those close calls.
“Obviously you want to score, it was same Saturday, same tonight. Saturday is over and you move on and get ready with this game,” said Rooney. “I’ve never been a player who just thinks about scoring goals. The goals will come. As soon as the game was over Saturday, I didn’t think that too much becuase we won the game.
Toronto FC’s best chance to tie it came at stoppage time. After Toronto FC was awarded a free kick, a great defensive header by Frederic Brillant went out of bounds. That was step one. The second step was to clear it after the corner kick which wass exactly what they did.
D.C. United’s final home game is vital. Win and they’re in. Even if they come up shorthanded in a defeat, they will still make the playoffs with a Montreal loss. Kickoff is at 3 p.m.