The Wayne Rooney led DC United will have a chance to go top of the Eastern conference if things elsewhere go their way and they beat a resurgent Toronto FC on Sunday morning at the Audi Field in Washington.
Rooney’s spectacular strike from the halfway line had helped DC pick up a 1-0 win over Orlando in midweek and the game against the Canadian visitors will be a challenge of its own.
Toronto picked up their first win in as many as eight outings in Thursday’s 3-2 win over MLS Cup Champions Atlanta United, as a brace for Alejandro Pozuelo took them through in the stoppage time of the game. All that, despite the absence of Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, who are currently on international duty with the national team that is taking part in the ongoing Gold Cup.
But it was Jacob Shaffelburg whose performance inspired the team to a dramatic win as the 19-year-old had a massive role to play in setting up both of Toronto first two goals and he made up for the absences of two experienced veterans of the side.
Pozuelo, on the other hand, scored his sixth and seventh goals of the campaign in the game and he now has seven goals and eight assists so far this season. The former Manchester City man will take part in the MLS All Stars game along with former rival at Man United in Wayne Rooney when they will play against Atletico Madrid towards the end of July.
The two sides played out a drab 0-0 draw in their previous and the only meeting of the season as DC brought on Rooney and Luciano Acosta only in the second half. But it was DC who had won their previous meeting from last season, picking up a 1-0 win. The other game between the two sides last season had ended in an entertaining 4-4 draw.
Rooney is currently DC’s highest goalscorer and after the win over Orlando in midweek, he told the Washington Post: “So many times, different managers, teammates, are like: ‘Why are you practicing this? You won’t score from this position. On nights like tonight, it’s why I do practice it. It was a good strike and important goal.”
Rooney had also scored similar goals from within the halfway line for his former clubs- United and Everton. He had scored one as part of his hat-trick against West Ham United for the Toffees and had scored the one for the Red Devils against West Ham themselves in the 2013-14 Premier League campaign.
For DC United, Oniel Fischer is expected to be out due to injury and the same goes for their American right-back Chris Odoi-Atsem. On the other hand, Toronto will have to deal with the potential absences of Brazilian full-back Auro and Chris Mavinga as both of them are big doubts to feature in Washington. They’ll certainly have Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley out due to international commitments and they’ll surely hope that Shaffleburg rises up to the occasion once again in their absences.