On Wednesday night, it was super sub Darren Mattocks who scored the game-winning goal for D.C. United, lifting the Black-and-Red above their opponents from Minnesota. The striker came on in the 58th minute, taking over up top and allowing Wayne Rooney to drop back into the midfield alongside Luciano Acosta. Just 11 minutes later, Mattocks netted the game-winning goal in the 69th minute, when he made an aggressive run in to the box and finished off a cross from Joseph Mora.
After missing United's match at NYCFC, Mattocks returned to the District from international duty with Jamaica in the CONCACAF Nations League. The forward scored two goals over the Cayman Islands in Jamaica’s 4-0 win on Sunday, then kept his scoring streak going in his return to the Black-and-Red.
Mattocks leads D.C. United in goals this season with 10, but hasn’t started a match since July 25 due to the addition of Rooney. Still, when Mattocks' opportunity came on Wednesday night, he took full advantage.
“Your chances are going to come,” Mattocks said. “And when your chance comes, you have to be ready to take it. And I definitely took it tonight.”
Mattocks' heroics did not go unnoticed by his coach nor his teammates following the big come-from-behind win.
“The game needed energy, the game needed a threat,” Head Coach Ben Olsen said on his decision to bring Mattocks in to the match. “I thought [Mattocks] gave us good energy.”
“We need him,” Rooney said. “He’s the match winner for us tonight and I think it’s great credit to him. It was great for us to have that threat with his pace. Full credit to him for getting back and being ready for tonight and he won us the game.”
Despite losing some of his play time since Rooney's arrival to D.C., Mattocks still has an important role to play at the club, as clearly displayed Wednesday night. When the forward gets on the pitch, he continues to make the most of his opportunities, as he did midweek, and he continues to impact the scoreline.
“I don’t know why everyone is so surprised about Darren,” Olsen said following Wednesday’s match. “He found himself on a team where there is a starter in front of him and he’s like a lot of second forwards in this league where they have to come off the bench and make a difference until his time is called…I think he’s a great guy and he’s a good teammate. And he’s been nothing but helpful to this club.”