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30th Dec 2018

THROWBACK: Rooney makes match-saving tackle then sets up 96th-minute winner in MLS

In the dying moments of the game, Wayne Rooney made a last ditch tackle to retrieve the ball before setting up the winner for DC United against Orlando City

Reuben Pinder

This is vintage Rooney

Straight out the top drawer of the Wayne Rooney archive, this is. If you had to show one clip to your grandchildren to explain what Wayne Rooney was, and what he did on a football pitch, this would be it.

In the dying seconds DC United were locked level with Orlando City 2-2 in August. The DC United goalkeeper had charged forward, perhaps naively at 2-2, to attack a corner, which came to nothing. Orland began to break away with the ball, heading towards an empty net.

Rooney, though, was not about to let this point – or three as it turned out – out of his grasp. He embarked upon one of those runs he goes on that can only end in a slide tackle which either gets him sent off or supasses peak Maldini. This time it was the latter, as he blocked the shot from Orlando’s attacker, retrieved the ball, and restarted DC’s attack.

As an oncoming opponent came closer and closer, Rooney unleashed a trademark pinged ball that has become synonymous with his latter years. As Orland’s goalkeeper came towards it, expecting to catch it, he realised he had made a grave mistake, as he was caught in no man’s land, leaving his goal wide open behind him.

DC United attacker Luciano Acosta then rose like a salmon to head the ball over the stranded goalkeeper and secure all three points, completing his hat-trick in the process.

And they said he was finished.