D.C. United will feel like they stole a point tonight, as Wayne Rooney’s stoppage time penalty gave them a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC. Former United favorite Nick DeLeon had given the Reds a first half lead, and United struggled badly to generate real chances, but a VAR-aided penalty kick decision allowed the home side to escape with a share of the spoils.
After both teams felt their way into the game, United were handed the game’s first chance. TFC goalkeeper Quentin Westberg had a chance to clear, but went looking for a shorter pass only to find his angles all cut off. Luciano Acosta stepped in to strip him of the ball on the endline before laying it back to Wayne Rooney. Unfortunately for United, Laurent Ciman did just enough to put Rooney off, with his falling bid for the upper corner going just barely over the bar.
The Reds were playing a reserve-heavy lineup and had several players in unfamiliar positions, but they had plenty of belief, and carved out a goal against United’s makeshift left flank in the 19th minute. Richie Laryea rounded Zoltan Stieber — getting a rare start as Ben Olsen’s side dealt with their second game in three days — with ease. Chris McCann, replacing the injured Joseph Mora in the starting eleven, was very late arriving as support, and Laryea rolled the ball into the mixer for longtime United player Nick DeLeon to tap in.
United had sporadic looks, but only from set pieces. One Rooney free kick from the corner was barely punched away by Westberg, while a 38th minute service caused chaos but only ended with Ulises Segura’s falling bid rolling wide.
Nonetheless, it was an abject showing from the home side, especially facing such a short-handed side.
Coming out at halftime with Marquinhos Pedroso replacing McCann, things carried on in a similar vein, with United holding the possession but unable to do much with it. It took until the 58th minute for something to shake loose, with Rooney adroitly clipping the ball in behind for Stieber’s late run. Stieber appeared sure to at least have a shooting opportunity, but he dallied on the ball and had it tackled cleanly away by Justin Morrow before he could go to goal.
TFC sensed the danger, and had a response at the hour mark. Jacob Shaffelburg sparked a counter the other way, dancing past Frederic Brillant before crossing. The service didn’t work, but DeLeon fed the loose ball back to Tsubasa Endoh, whose 25-yard curler required a dramatic diving save from Bill Hamid.
Greg Vanney appeared to want his team to move into a 541 after a 67th minute substitution, but with multiple Toronto players coming to the bench to ask for clarification, United finally started to show some life. Chris Durkin, who replaced Stieber a minute before TFC’s change, found Rooney at the top of the box, but after the England legend escaped multiple white shirts, he fired right at Westberg.
A Pedroso cross in the 76th minute picked Rooney out, and his flick to the back post just barely evaded Segura as the Black-and-Red began a belated push to get level.
However, in the end they were bailed out by a VAR decision. United put the ball into the mixer on a corner, and Brillant ended up on the ground at the back post. Referee Robert Sibiga didn’t spot a foul initially, but after getting a call from VAR awarded a penalty, with replays showing that substitute Ayo Akinola clearly hauled Brillant down by his arm.
Just after the start of 5 minutes of stoppage time, Rooney once again saved the Black-and-Red’s blushes, firing his spot kick right up the middle while sending Westberg diving to his right.
United made a furious late push to steal a win, but TFC did just enough to survive the final seconds. Now on 31 points from 19 games, will get a few days to prepare before heading down for a tough game in Texas, as they take on FC Dallas on July 4th.
MLS Regular Season (Game 19)
D.C. United 1 (Rooney 91+pen)
Toronto FC 1 (DeLeon 19)
DCU (4231): Bill Hamid; Leonardo Jara, Frederic Brillant, Steven Birnbaum, Chris McCann (Marquinhos Pedroso 46); Russell Canouse, Lucas Rodriguez; Ulises Segura (Quincy Amarikwa 80), Luciano Acosta, Zoltan Stieber (Chris Durkin 66); Wayne Rooney (C)
TFC (4141): Quentin Westberg (C); Richie Laryea, Liam Fraser, Laurent Ciman, Justin Morrow; Marky Delgado; Tsubasa Endoh (Jordan Hamilton 94+), Jay Chapman (Ayo Akinola 60), Nick DeLeon, Jacob Shaffelburg (Griffin Dorsey 87); Alejandro Pozuelo
DCU - Brillant 53
TFC - Laryea 42, Chapman 65, DeLeon 87