Wayne Rooney scored his fourth goal of the season on a sensational free kick and added his third assist on another set piece as D.C. United held on for a 2-1 victory over Orlando City SC on Sunday night at Orlando City Stadium in Florida.
Steve Birnbaum added his first goal of the season for D.C. (3-0-1, 10 points), which secured its first away victory since defeating San Jose on May 19 of 2018 to move back atop the Eastern Conference standings.
Dom Dwyer scored his third goal of the season for Orlando (1-2-2, 5 points) — and the first conceded this season by D.C. as the hosts tried to come back from a two-goal deficit.
The Lions outshot the Black-and-Red 16-4 and held 54 percent of the possession, but could not find the equalizer. United’s Bill Hamid made four saves.
D.C. had the lead after only six minutes. Rooney stepped over a free kick from the right flank and sent in his service toward the back post, where Birnbaum met it with a clean header past goalkeeper Brian Rowe.
Orlando were incensed after Rooney made it 2-0 in the 30th minute. Rooney’s free kick was brilliant, curling from the left flank beyond Rowe’s reach and rattling the inside of the right post before crossing the goal line.
But Orlando coach James O’Connor pleaded with officials to review the goal for a potential foul on Rowe by D.C. defender Frederic Brillant. And the hosts also believed the free kick never should’ve been awarded for a foul to Dwyer after replays showed minimal contact between Dwyer and Rooney.
Orlando’s Chris Mueller entered the match in the 59th minute and provided an immediate impact when his cross found Dwyer in front of goal four minutes later. Dwyer headed it back across Hamid from close range to cut Orlando’s deficit in half.
Orlando had several chances to equalize, the best coming when Robin Jansson‘s chip sailed wide in the 89th minute and Mueller’s header rattled the left upright in the first minute of stoppage time.