His enjoying days, although, are behind him now. He has grown out a graying beard and poured his efforts into teaching. Others should rating the objectives; he can solely instruct and encourage. 5 matches into his D.C. United tenure, his persistence is being examined.
Final in MLS’s 28-deep standings, United has made defensive strides, even with out two again line starters sidelined for the season with accidents. Targets, nonetheless, stay painfully elusive.
Since a miraculous two-goal end towards Orlando in Rooney’s debut July 31, United has gone scoreless in 4 consecutive matches.
The most recent was a 1-0 choice to league-leading Los Angeles FC on Tuesday. United confirmed character and fortitude, and beneath Rooney, continues making small strides.
D.C. United’s resistance wanes after Steven Birnbaum’s purple card in loss to LAFC
With a number of new gamers and a brand new system, although, D.C. will not be going to generate lots of scoring alternatives. That may in all probability have to attend till 2023. What little the workforce is creating lacks achievement. And so, as encouraging as Tuesday’s efficiency was towards an opponent that has misplaced as soon as over nearly three months and scored 9 objectives the earlier two matches, there was nothing to indicate for it.
“We’ll keep improving. I believe that,” Rooney mentioned. “We’re in a difficult position, of course, in the league. We brought quite a few new faces in, so it will take time. We’re hoping we can end the season well and build some momentum going into next season.”
United posed one main menace in every half. Within the twenty sixth minute, it took a wondrous save by Maxime Crépeau to disclaim D.C. captain Steven Birnbaum’s header. After Birnbaum was despatched off for a second yellow card and LAFC took the lead within the 67th minute, United’s Taxi Fountas hit the put up from 30 yards.
United carried out significantly better Tuesday than Saturday, when it misplaced at New England by a 1-0 end result that appeared bigger.
D.C. United, nonetheless including components, sputters in loss to Revolution
The group had hoped for a elevate this weekend towards the East-leading Philadelphia Union at Audi Area. However its marquee summer time signing, Belgian striker Christian Benteke, is “very doubtful” to obtain his work visa in time, Rooney mentioned. That might push his possible debut to Aug. 28 in Atlanta.
Regardless of the scoring issues, United appeared as if it’d escape Banc of California Stadium with one level.
“I thought we performed well and I thought we caused them problems,” Rooney mentioned. “Brave. We competed.”
Yellow playing cards, although, have been piling up. And within the sixtieth minute, Birnbaum acquired a second, leading to his first ejection since a 2014 U.S. Open Cup recreation.
“I can’t go to ground like that [and take down Kellyn Acosta] and make the decision for him,” Birnbaum mentioned of referee Ramy Touchan. “I take responsibility for it. I felt like I let the team down a little bit.”
He will probably be sorely missed towards Philadelphia, which, six weeks in the past, trashed United, 7-0, in Chester, Pa.
“Steve’s an experienced player,” Rooney mentioned. “He knows that if you put yourself in those situations [already] on a yellow card, then it’s possible you can get a red.”
Whereas Rooney had no complaints about Birnbaum being despatched off, he was irked with Touchan’s general work. United gamers acquired six yellows; LAFC obtained one close to the top for time-wasting.
“It’s a league which is progressing and getting better, and I’ve got a lot of respect for referees,” Rooney mentioned. “I understand it’s a very difficult job. But if I can give my opinion without getting in trouble, I felt there’s a lot of people in the game who can do better.”
Rooney was proud of goalkeeper David Ochoa, a prized 21-year-old acquired final month from Actual Salt Lake. In his D.C. debut, Ochoa made two fabulous saves within the second half and confirmed command of the penalty space all through the evening.
A star final 12 months however at odds with RSL Coach Pablo Mastroeni this 12 months, Ochoa didn’t seem in any common season matches.
“It’s been a while,” mentioned Ochoa, a Southern California native who had 20 family and friends in attendance. “I was a little shaky going into it, a little nervous. Once the whistle blew, that adrenaline took over. I’m happy to get back on the field and keep making a name for myself.”
That efficiency in all probability elevated him to the highest of the depth chart, forward of Rafael Romo, the starter since June 18 instead of veteran Invoice Hamid, who’s recovering from hand surgical procedure.
Ochoa and United additionally benefited from LAFC’s imperfections.
“Just an off-night for our attackers,” mentioned Coach Steve Cherundolo, whose workforce has a nine-point lead within the race for the Supporters’ Protect (factors champion) and is on tempo for the perfect common season in MLS historical past. “Same result, though. That’s what is important.”
The assault did click on within the 67th minute, on a counter led by Carlos Vela. Cristian Arango drew out Ochoa, then crossed to substitute Mahala Opoku for a simple purpose.
LAFC (18-4-3) has gained a club-record seven in a row, extra victories than United (6-15-4) all season.
Nonetheless, Rooney stays optimistic — even when his workforce can’t rating.
“We handled the game well and I think we deserve something out of the game,” he mentioned. “It’s a shame. We went to 10 men and we concede the goal but there’s a lot of positives.”