D.C. United hosted FC Dallas on Saturday night in a match that looked to be heading toward a draw in the dying moments of the game. Both teams found plenty of chances, but neither side was able to find a breakthrough up until the 86th minute.
Cue Russell Canouse.
In the 86th minute, Wayne Rooney took a free kick that Canouse hit off the volley, but the shot bounced off the crossbar. Defender Steven Birnbaum set up the second effort for Canouse, who was able to head the ball just past Dallas' scrambling defense for his first career MLS goal.
“The good ol' Central Pennsylvania kid,” Head Coach Ben Olsen said of Canouse after the match. “He’s a gutsy kid and I’m glad he was rewarded for all the work he has done this year with a goal. He does so many little things that go unnoticed since he’s been back in the lineup, and he’s been such a big part of this turnaround. I’m really happy for Russell. He’s a guy that everyone loves on the team because of how selfless he is.”
Canouse’s first goal came during a difficult time for his good friend and teammate Paul Arriola, whose father passed away the week before the Dallas matchup. Arriola returned to California to be with family and did not play against FC Dallas, making Canouse's game-winning goal all the more meaningful considering its timing.
“It was a special moment for me,” Canouse said on scoring. “That goal was for [Paul]. I know from personal experience that losing a parent is not easy, and I know I can support him through this time."