Wayne Rooney creates 96th-minute DC United winner against Orlando City
Scroll Down to Watch the Video
Wayne Rooney sprinted back from the edge of the penalty area, made a goal-saving sliding tackle, then got up and provided a 96th-minute winner in a dramatic DC United victory.
The MLS side’s keeper David Ousted went up for a late corner, so his net was empty as 10-man Orlando cleared and went on the counter-attack.
But Rooney tackled Will Johnson, who was into the DC half and had no keeper in front of him, before a long-range pass teed up Luciano Acosta for the decisive goal in a 3-2 win.
The strike sealed a hat-trick for Acosta and sparked jubilant celebrations among the DC United players, who remain bottom of the Eastern Conference but have games in hand on their rivals as they attempt to make a late push for the play-offs.
Cristian Higuita was sent off for Orlando after 55 minutes and although Acosta then put DC United 2-1 in front, Dom Dwyer equalised for the 10 men.
“It was strange, we went from losing to winning in five seconds,” said Rooney, 32.
“They’re the best games of football to win. Of course, we should’ve done better against 10 men so it’s something we can look to improve.”
DC United said their player went into “beast mode”, while MLS tweeted: “Are you kidding Wayne Rooney? Amazing.”
England’s record goalscorer added: “To be honest, I saw it happen before we took the corner.
“I normally go in the box for corners, that’s why I stayed out because I tried to anticipate something like that happening.
“I’ve seen it before in football. You just rust run as quick as you can trying to get back. I was hoping he’d take a touch and he did.”
When it was announced that Wayne Rooney would leave Everton and the Premier League for the MLS in June, many viewed it as a semi-retirement.
For various reasons, the MLS is regarded as a retirement league for older players looking for one last hurrah before hanging up their boots.
David Beckham somewhat started the trend when he joined LA Galaxy from Real Madrid in 2007, aged 32, and since then many other big names have followed him.
Robbie Keane, Thierry Henry, Ashley Cole, Kaka, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, David Villa, Andrea Pirlo, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Zlatan Ibrahimovic – you get the picture.
What each of those players had in common when they moved to the MLS was that they were on the wrong side of 30, and now Rooney has joined that club (32).
However, any suspicions that the former England captain would treat his time in America as a chance to wind down were completely proved wrong on Sunday night.
DC United headed into their game against Orlando City bottom of the Eastern Conference and in desperate need of a win.