Fans Turn Out To See Rooney’s DC United Draw 2-2 With Montreal

June 1, 2023
2 mins read
Wayne Rooney DC United 2022
British soccer star Wayne Rooney speaks during a press conference where he was announced as the new Head Coach of Major League Soccer's DC United at Audi Field in Washington, DC, on July 12, 2022. - Former England and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney was named on Tuesday as the new head coach of DC United and tasked with reviving the moribund Major League Soccer team. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

By Elliot Sangara at Audi Field.

As the sun began to set on a cool spring evening, the atmosphere at Audi Field was electric as DC United took on CF Montreal.

The sight of a relatively full stadium on a Wednesday evening is a testament to the transformative impact Wayne Rooney has had on this club.

Gone are the days when fans found it difficult to invest in watching DC United, as their last season ended with the team bottom of the MLS Eastern standings.

This season paints a different picture. With a blend of young, promising MLS talents and seasoned veterans from the English Premier League, Rooney’s DC United are a captivating composition.

The youthful exuberance of homegrown players like Theodore “Ted” Ku-DiPietro, still finding their footing at the age of 21, is complemented by the presence of seasoned veteran players like Christian Benteke, making the transition smoother for the emerging talents.

It was Ku-DiPietro who notched DC United’s second goal, after a headed pass from Benteke.

Benteke, the imposing and technically gifted Belgian striker is already making a name for himself in MLS this season. In 15 matches he has 7 goals. Such is Benteke’s impact, the Montreal players double-teamed whenever he was in and around the box, a clear testament to his influence on the pitch.

DC United started off well, dictating the tempo with their possession-based approach and creating chances.

While the team’s attack consists mostly of getting the ball to Benteke, they have the ability to create intricate passing moves to exploit space.

This was evident when Chris Durkin, another homegrown player, kept finding teammates in good spaces, and continued to drive forward from the central midfield with purpose.

Durkin’s tenacity paid dividends as his penetrating run into the box resulted in a corner kick that created United’s first goal.

A well-rehearsed short corner routine ended with former Leeds United player Matheuz Klich whipping in a pinpoint cross for 6ft 5in center-back Donovan Pines to rise and execute a perfectly timed header, leaving the goalkeeper helpless.

The match took an unexpected twist in the second half as CF Montreal slowly began to claw back possession and create opportunities. The pivotal moments unfolded as Unusi Ibrahim and Ariel Lassiter combined to score two goals in two minutes.

In the 79th minute, Ibrahim peeled away from Donovan Pines and was left unmarked as he jumped to connect with a cross from his teammate Ariel Lassiter and score the goal to make it 2-1.

The atmosphere in Audi Stadium shifted. The worst was yet to come for the home side. Montreal seized the momentum and sent a hopeful long ball to Ibrahim in the 80th minute.

Pines slipped as he went to defend the long pass and provided Ibrahim with a clear path to goal. Ibrahim found Lassiter, and Lassiter equalized in the 82nd minute.

A remarkable comeback.

Ibrahim, introduced as a substitute in the 61st minute, etched his name in club history by becoming only the second player to contribute both a goal and an assist from the bench in a single match.

Despite the notable changes Rooney has instigated in terms of personnel and playing style, there remains work to be done in maintaining focus and concentration throughout the entire match.

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