D.C. United finally inched their way past the Montreal Impact on Saturday afternoon, defeating FC Dallas 1-0 at Audi Field. Russell Canouse headed home in the 86th minute for his first goal for the Black-and-Red, as United moved into sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The win marked United’s third in a row, and ran their unbeaten streak to seven games, with their last defeat coming back coming in August against the Philadelphia Union.
A week after the comeback win over the Chicago Fire, head coach Ben Olsen was forced into three changes in the lineup against Dallas. With Junior Moreno and Ulises Segura away on international duty, Chris Durkin and Zoltan Stieber were handed starts. And after the passing of his father during the week, Paul Arriola was unavailable, with Jalen Robinson taking over at right back.
Seconds after Maxi Urruti forced a save out of Bill Hamid in the 2nd minute, Wayne Rooney should have put the hosts ahead. A ball forward from Luciano Acosta was misplayed by Matt Hedges, and Rooney collected the ball just inside the box. Rooney’s attempt was rushed though, and his shot bobbled wide.
Dallas would go on to out-shoot United 11-5 in the first half, but 9 of those Dallas shots came from outside of the box. In the 10th minute, a corner from Urruti was headed away by Frederic Brillant. The ball fell to center back Reto Ziegler outside the box, who attempted an audacious half-volley that Hamid stopped.
Rooney had a looping shot land on top of the goal in the 12th minute, before his service from a corner in the 15th generated what looked like a goal. Steven Birnbaum nodded the cross back to the near post, and Acosta smashed a volley in, but a whistle for a foul on Brillant had already gone before Acosta’s finish.
In the 17th minute, with United stretched defensively, Michael Barrios chased down a long ball, and cut back against Brillant in the box. Barrios laced a shot towards the near post, and Hamid took no chances, pushing the ball out for a corner.
Four minutes later, Barrios turned creator on a break near midfield. Bearing down on goal, Barrios played wide to Santiago Mosquera. The winger tried to score with a curler, but his one-timed effort landed on the roof of the net.
Hustle from Durkin in the 22nd minute helped create another chance for Rooney. Winning possession in the Dallas half, Durkin shuttled the ball to Stieber, who quickly found United’s number nine. Rooney shot with his first touch, but could not find the target towards the far post.
From there, the chances in the first half for both sides slowed down after a frenetic opening spell. Ryan Hollingshead and Abel Aguilar had half-decent looks for Dallas, but like most Dallas efforts they were from some distance.
The opening 15 minutes or so of the second half saw a bevy of openings for both sides, though no goals were to come. In the 53rd minute, Mosquera had a run at Birnbaum in the box, firing a shot from a tight angle that was saved by Hamid.
A minute later, Yamil Asad nutmegged Hollingshead before finding Acosta. With his back turned to goal, Acosta touched it on to Rooney, but his first-time bid again missed the mark.
In the 56th minute, Asad couldn’t corral possession of the ball in his own box, and Barrios quickly pounced on the loose ball. With no much support from his teammates, Barrios once again tried his luck at the near post, only to find the outside netting. At the other end, Asad nutmegged Hedges in the box, but had his shot blocked by Ziegler in front of goal.
Acosta forced the first save out of Gonzalez in the 58th minute, as he skipped around a challenge in the box. Gonzalez made the save easily, but was then forced into a great save in the 62nd minute. A free kick opportunity afforded Rooney a look 25 yards from goal. His curling effort forced Gonzalez to save at full stretch, preventing a highlight-reel goal.
Dallas won the initial header from Rooney’s resulting corner, but the ball was not cleared away. Brillant kept it alive with a header into the middle, where it fell to substitute Nick DeLeon, but the veteran smashed his volley off target.
The Black-and-Red wanted a penalty for a handball in the 75th minute, to no avail. Play continued on, and Asad found Rooney in front of goal, only for Rooney’s shot to be blocked out for a corner by Ziegler.
Dallas cleared the corner, and Acosta was caught in possession, setting up Dallas for a 3-on-1. Mosquera found Urruti out wide, who passed to Barrios in the middle, but Hamid was up to the task on Barrios’ swerving shot from 19 yards.
Dallas was seemingly in control, and looked the more likely to find a late winner, before Canouse popped up to win the game for United in the 86th minute. A free kick into the box from Rooney was poorly dealt with by Dallas, who headed the ball straight up. The ball fell to Canouse in space, who side-footed a volley agonizingly off the crossbar.
However, the rebound bounced off of Hollingshead in front of goal, popping up back into the path of Canouse. The midfielder rose up above Gonzalez and Dominique Badji to head the ball back across goal and over the line, giving the Black-and-Red a late lead with his first goal for the club.
United then effectively killed the game off in the Dallas end, keeping the ball away from their own goal for the final minutes and stoppage time. With the win, United move to 44 points from 31 games, one point ahead of the idle Impact.
The Black-and-Red are back at home on Wednesday night, when they will host Toronto FC.