Wayne Rooney saves game, wins game in one awe-inspiring 96th-minute sequence (Video)

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Many were skeptical of Wayne Rooney when he arrived in Washington, D.C. after 16 seasons in the English Premier League. Many thought he represented a bygone MLS era. Many thought he was overpriced and over the hill.

And then Rooney showed up at D.C. United, and showed why so many of us were flat-out wrong. The greatest evidence yet was one of the most awe-inspiring individual plays you’ll see on a soccer field, anytime, anywhere.

With United and Orlando City tied 2-2 deep in stoppage time Sunday night – both teams drifting out of playoff contention, heading for a draw that helped neither – Rooney sprinted back to make a goal-saving tackle, then pinged a 60-yard cross-field ball to the back post. Luciano Acosta, all 5-foot-3 of him, rose to head home a winner:

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Acosta went leaping into the Audi Field stands. The goal survived a VAR review. And Rooney … heck, he more or less justified his exorbitant salary once and for all in 15 glorious seconds.

Here’s a view from the crowd:

D.C. United keeper David Ousted, inexplicably if not for the fact that United sits last in MLS’ Eastern Conference, was up for a corner in a tie game. When the corner was cleared, it appeared as if his decision had gifted Orlando two points.

Even Rooney thought, “What’s he doing?”

But while his teammates watched, the 32-year-old Rooney – with more career accomplishments than all 10 of them combined – busted his behind to snuff out the Orlando break. Then he showed his class.

He’s been class ever since he arrived in the U.S. MLS history is dotted with expensive, aging stars who haven’t given maximum effort. Rooney, as evidenced by Sunday, is absolutely, positively not one of them. He’s panning out better than anybody could have expected.

Wayne Rooney has been excellent since coming to D.C. United and MLS. (Getty)
Wayne Rooney has been excellent since coming to D.C. United and MLS. (Getty)

Rooney’s play, naturally, had MLS fans everywhere going crazy:

Reaction to Rooney’s otherworldly play

However …

The goal probably shouldn’t have counted

Nobody wants to be a kill-joy after a play like that. But a moment of stupidity from Acosta, the eventual goalscorer, probably should have led to the goal being ruled out for offside:

But that doesn’t dampen anything Rooney did in those 15 seconds. Incredible.

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Henry Bushnell covers global soccer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell, and on Facebook.

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