D.C. United managed to pull off a 3-2 stoppage-time win against Orlando City SC in front of an electric home crowd on Sunday. Here are three things we learned.
While many expected the game to be a low-scoring contest, the two teams put on dynamic performances that proved otherwise.
United took a 1-0 lead right before halftime after midfielder Luciano Acosta found space down the right of the penalty box and fired it in for the goal.
After an own goal from United goalkeeper David Ousted, Orlando tied up the game in the 50th minute, moments before Cristian Higuita was sent off after the officials looked at the video review of a collision he had United’s, Yamil Asad.
Then, in the 64th minute, Acosta scored yet again after collecting a pass from Wayne Rooney in the box, placing the shot past Orlando City goalkeeper Joe Bendik for the lead. But just when it seemed like Orlando City was done for, forward Dom Dwyer pulled the team level in the 70th minute. Dwyer timed his run well and collected a through pass that he cleverly chipped over Ousted.
Although both teams had opportunities at scoring in the following minutes, the winner would not be decided until stoppage time, where United won a corner kick. While the game was tied, United head coach Ben Olsen decided to push Ousted up-field for the corner kick, leaving a completely empty goal at the other end.
After Orlando cleared the corner kick, Will Johnson attempted to run the ball down the other end for the free goal but was stopped dead in his tracks by Rooney, who chased him down as the last man and stripped him of the ball with an exceptional slide tackle.
Rooney then turned, surveyed the pitch, and sent the ball deep to the back post where Acosta was able to win the header in the air and place it past Bendik for the game-winner and his third goal of the night.
Overall, United was far from perfect against Orlando City, but the team’s stars really showed up when it needed them to. Here is what we learned from Sunday’s exciting clash.
3. It’s time to move on from Ousted
D.C. United goalkeeper David Ousted is far from terrible. However, he still hasn’t proved that he can play at the level his team needs him to be. With United sitting at the bottom of the Eastern conference, the club can no longer afford to make mistakes that could cost them points. For this reason, it might be time for United to bench Ousted.
In 17 starts this season, Ousted has not picked up a single clean sheet. He has also allowed the 12th-most goals in the league this season. While it might be easy to blame these struggles on United’s inconsistent backline, Sunday’s performance proves that Ousted still isn’t the elite shot-stopper that the club needs in goal.
During the game against Orlando City, Ousted made a critical mistake on a shot he should have been able to keep outside of his own goal. Beaten at the near-post, he seemed to lose sight of the ball when it came his way. The shot deflected off Ousted and into the goal, allowing Orlando City to pull level in the second half.
At 33, Ousted is nearing the twilight of his career and there’s reason to suspect that the club is looking to replace him sometime soon. Early last week, United announced that goalkeeper Bill Hamid had rejoined the team after playing nine months with Danish club FC Midtjylland on loan. The 2014 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year struggled to get playing time in Denmark and so he decided to come back to the District in the hopes of playing regular minutes.
When Hamid is in-form, he has the talent to be one of the league’s best goalkeepers. With United looking to make a run into the playoffs, the team will need someone they can trust to put on consistent performances in goal. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if Olsen decides to start Hamid over Ousted during the team’s next stretch of games.