Fontana scores but late Rooney penalty ends Union's 2019 US Open Cup


Entering the match as a striker, Anthony Fontana scored his first goal for the Union since the 2018 season opener, but Wayne Rooney's late penalty kick lifted DC United to the win and knocked Philadelphia from the 2019 US Open Cup. 

The Union dominated the ball early in the match and Wayne Rooney struggled to assert himself. The first big chance of the match came off a set piece. Both teams had big center backs that won early headers off corners. Mark McKenzie challenged in the box but couldn’t put the ball on frame.

DC United countered through Rooney, and his chip into the box for Ulysses Segura was well placed but Fabinho was covering well to clear the danger.

The home side began countering with more confidence and two minutes later, Leonardo Jara found Angelo Rodriguez after a run up the wing and the Argentinian attacker drove up the left and powered a shot in that Aurelien Collin blocked away. The ball fell to Lucho Acosta and follow-up shot smacked the outside of the post and spun out of play.

United pressed on and in the 30th minute Rooney found Acosta with a brilliant ball from the left channel to the right side but McKenzie stepped in front at the last minute.

The Union continued to control possession without breaking through, and DC sought to transition with speed when they won the ball back. Acosta, Rooney, and Rodriguez again got together in the 41st to threaten, but the Union’s centerbacks remained solid. Philly had a big opportunity when Haris Medunjanin stood over a free kick at the top of the box, but his shot slammed into the wall.

DC continued to find chances when they recovered the ball in the second half, and the Union kept prodding with their possession. Steve Birnbaum hit the bar with a header before Jamiro Monteiro curled a shot at Chris Seitz from deep.

Rooney grew in stature, and in the waning moments of regular time he first sent in a gorgeous curled cross from the left before creating his own space and firing at Matt Freese’s feet from the top of the box.

There was no breakthrough in regulation time, and as the match moved into the bonus round, it, quite predictably, opened up. Rooney hit a free kick into the wall that deflected off Mark McKenzie’s elbow, giving Rooney a second chance from just outside the box that bounced around at high speed — it even hit Acosta at the edge of the six yard box — before the Union could clear.

Jim Curtin called on Matt Real, Ray Gaddis, and Zach Zandi late in regulation time before summoning Anthony Fontana as a striker in extra time. Zandi proved influential in midfield, linking and pushing the ball forward but couldn’t find the finishing touch.

Fontana proved to be the difference-maker, scooting behind the defense in the 114th minute to latch onto a Monteiro dinked ball and finishing.

But DC had a response. In the waning moments of the game, Chris McCann latched onto a Rooney corner and headed in an equalizer. Then Acosta got free up the left and earned a penalty when he went down in the box. Rooney stepped up to put his side into the lead and that’s how the match ended.

Now the Union prepare for the latter half of their MLS season, which begins on June 26 with a match New England Revolution at 7:00 p.m. ET on PHL17.