Wayne Rooney celebrates after helping DC United to beat Orlando City

What happened when Rooney faced Nani in MLS

Former Manchester United team-mates Wayne Rooney and Nani were club opponents for the first time on Sunday, when DC United and Orlando City faced off in Major League Soccer.

Rooney stole the show in Orlando by scoring a sensational free-kick from an acute angle on the left wing, just a few yards away from the corner flag. It has since been compared with the incredible set-piece he scored at Stoke City in 2017 to become our all-time leading goalscorer. 

That wonder strike put DC United 2-0 up after Wayne had earlier claimed an assist for team-mate Steven Birnbaum. Nani’s Orlando pulled one back on 63 minutes, through Dom Dwyer, but the home side were unable to build on that riposte and the visitors from Washington held on to the win. 

 

In his post-match interview, Rooney offered a modest assessment of the two goals that he was involved in against Orlando. 

“I know that with Steve [Birnbaum], if I put the ball in the right area, he is fantastic in the air and he has got a chance of scoring,” Wayne told reporters after the final whistle in the US. “Thankfully he did that, with a great header.

“Mine, in those positions, I try to get the ball towards the back post to force the keeper to do something, or the defender to head it, and thankfully it went in.”

Rooney also tipped Nani to produce his best performances with Orlando, once the Portuguese ex-Red has settled in America following his recent transfer.

“It was Orlando v DC. Obviously, it was good to see Nani and good to take the points back to DC,” Wayne explained. “But he is a fantastic player and I am sure in the next few weeks he will show that even more when he gets used to things here so I wish him good luck.”

 

DC United are currently top of the Eastern Conference in MLS with 10 points from four matches and that is encouraging for Rooney's new club, who want to build on their achievement of reaching the play-offs last season. 

Meanwhile, Nani's Orlando City are seventh with five points after winning one and drawing two of their five matches. The exciting forward was signed in the summer following the departure of former Brazil international Kaka. 

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