Orlando City fall 2-1 to Rooney inspired D.C. Utd as refereeing decisions play crucial role

Football is sometimes a hard task manager and Orlando City were given another lesson in defending and finishing as they fell 2-1 to D.C. United at Orlando City Stadium on Sunday night.

The game started badly for Orlando as they went behind for the third consecutive home game in the opening weeks of the 2019 MLS season. In just the 5th minute Orlando conceded a free kick on the right hand edge of their penalty box. Wayne Rooney, making his first ever appearance in Orlando, stepped up and flighted the ball across the face of the six yard box and Steven Bimbaum casually strolled in to head home.

Two minutes later, it should have been level as Nani somehow headed over Dom Dwyer’s pull back with the goal at his mercy.

D.C. then extended their lead in the 30th minute in controversial style. Dwyer recklessly went into a challenge on Rooney near his own corner flag with a foot raised and although the DC forward took evasive action so that Dwyer’s flying boot missed him, referee Armando Villareal correctly gave a free kick for dangerous play.

Rooney then swung over his cross come shot and saw it go in off the back post with Orlando goalkeeper caught flat footed and under challenge from Frédéric Brillant. It was a goal that Orlando felt should have been chalked off for a foul by Brilliant on their keeper but Villareal gave it after consultation with the VAR team.

Orlando now faced an uphill battle after going 2-0 down at home for the third consecutive time and after the half time break they came roaring back with a determined second half display. In the 59th minute Orlando Head Coach James O’Connor made a double substitution as Chris Mueller came on for Sacha Kljestan and Sebastian Mendez came on for Uri Rosell and the move immediately paid dividends. Mueller, full of energy, worked his way down the right hand edge of the penalty box and delivered a perfect cross for an unmarked Dwyer to head home.

The amazing Orlando crowd went ballistic and encouraged their team onto greater efforts but despite out shooting their opponents 16-4 they just couldn’t find a second goal to give them the rewards they richly deserved. It was a harsh lesson for this Orlando team but the reality is that two defensive lapses and a failure to take their chances cost the Lions dearly.

After the game, the talking point was the D.C. Utd second goal and a clearly exasperated O’Connor said “The foul on Brian Rowe was so obvious. It goes to VAR, everybody can see it. For some reason we don’t… what’s the point in having VAR? He didn’t even go and look at it. Yet, everyone can see that it’s a foul. For us, we’ve had it, since I’ve been here, we’ve had it in game after game.”

“Columbus away last year. D.C had an incident. New York at the start of this year. How many more times? The players go out and give an incredible second-half performance. Absolutely incredible, and yet, we come off and we lose the game, again, through no fault of our own. How many more times?”

After the game Rooney was asked if he thought there was intent from Dwyer for the free kick and he said “I see him coming and I got out of the way because if I didn’t, it could’ve been a serious injury. As the referee said, it’s intent. I’m not stupid enough to stand in there and let him try to take my knee off.”

Full Time: Orlando City 1 D.C. United 2

Lineups/Substitutions:

Orlando City SC – GK Brian Rowe; D Shane O’Neill, Lamine Sane, Robin Jansson; M Ruan, Carlos Ascues, Sacha Kljestan (Chris Mueller 59’), Uri Rosell (Sebastian Mendez 59’), Joao Moutinho; F Dom Dwyer, Ⓒ Nani (Benji Michel 78’)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Adam Grinwis; D Kamal Miller; M Kyle Smith; F Santiago Patino

D.C. United – GK Bill Hamid; D Leonardo Jara, Frederic Brillant, Steven Birnbaum, Joseph Mora (Chris McCann 15’); M Russell Canouse, Junior Moreno, Paul Arriola (Ulises Segura 69’), Luciano Acosta, Lucas Rodriguez (Jalen Robinson 86’); F Wayne Rooney

Substitutes Not Used: GK Chris Seitz; D Chris Durkin; M Zoltan Stieber; F Quincy Amarikwa

Attendance: 22,481

More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com

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