Rafael scores sensational 35-yard goal in D.C. United debut | inside World Soccer

Brazilian striker Rafael scored in his debut for D.C. United on a sensational half-volley in a 2-1 loss to the Columbus Crew on Saturday at RFK Stadium.

D.C. United player Rafael celebrates after scoring the equalizer against Columbus Crew
D.C. United player Rafael celebrates after scoring the equalizer against Columbus Crew

Photo: dcunited.com

The visiting side applied most of the early pressure and broke through in the 15th minute thanks to Josh Williams.

But Rafael, who was acquired from Brazilian side Bahia in the offseason, levelled it for United seven minutes later with a memorable first MLS goal.

Off a turnover at midfield, Chris Pontius played the ball forward for Rafael in the Crew's half.

It didn't appear that Rafael was going to be able to do much with it, but he out-muscled Gláuber with his back to goal and turned around his marker as the ball went by and was free.

Gláuber, and a couple other of his Columbus teammates, stopped, maybe expecting a foul on Rafael.

No whistle was blown, however, and Rafael was free to launch a low drive from beyond 35 yards that dipped away from the poorly-positioned Andy Gruenebaum and inside the right post.

But Crew forward Ben Speas scored 13 minutes into the second half that proved to be the game-winner.

"I saw the keeper out of his line and when I turned, I looked up and saw him," Rafael said after the game through a translator.

"I've been training all this week on my finishing, especially from outside of the box. I built up confidence and had space to move, but I figured I try it from there – why not?"

He added: "(Scoring my first goal) feels good, but obviously not good with the defeat."


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