Chris Durkin and Taxiarchis Fountas scored in second-half stoppage time as DC United edged Orlando City 2-1 in a thriller in Wayne Rooney’s Major League Soccer coaching debut on Sunday.
The late rally snapped United’s four-match winless run, which included three games since former England and Manchester United star Rooney was named the club’s new manager.
Rooney's MLS sideline debut was postponed while he awaited his work visa, even though
since his hiring on July 12, he had closely collaborated with the front office to reshape the team ahead of the August 4 MLS transfer and trade deadline.
Fountas sealed the victory with his 11th goal of the season, a left-footed volley of a cross from Kimarni Smith in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Durkin had grabbed the equalizer three minutes earlier, firing home from the center of the box from Ola Kamara’s cross.
Orlando lost their second consecutive game but maintained their fifth-place standing in the Eastern Conference after Junior Urso's third goal of the season in the ninth minute gave them the lead.
In the 61st minute, Fountas nearly tied the score, but Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese blocked his close-range effort.
Rooney stated that he never lost faith in his team's ability to win the game.
I thought we'd win the game, but the only thing we needed to do was pick up the pace "After a dull first 45 minutes, Rooney was asked what his halftime advice to the squad was.
"I urged the guys to be more upbeat at halftime. to put in the effort. There is a significant difference; it is more possession-based, relies heavily on the goalkeeper, and puts players in perilous situations. The second half was fantastic, in my opinion."
Ravel Morrison, the Jamaican midfielder who played for Rooney at Derby County, started for his new squad, and it also served as Rooney's official coaching debut.
Rafael Romo is starting, but Carlos Ochoa, the new goalkeeper who was acquired last week from Real Salt Lake, is still waiting in the wings. When United travels to Charlotte on Wednesday, that might alter.
The victory for United was their first since May. They are eighth in the MLS Cup playoff standings and last in the Eastern Conference.
"This season must begin immediately, "Rooney remarked. "We need to improve. We are beginning to demonstrate the potential of our team."