D.C. United’s 3-2 win over Inter Miami at Audi Field on a night that ended with an ugly collapse was overshadowed.
“A word has been used that I don’t think is socially acceptable,” Neville said. “What I think is the worst word in the world has been used.”
Miami defenseman DeAndre Yedlin Lowe reacts angrily to “the guy calling him the n-word” while walking away after a collision with Fountas and teammate Ame Mabika. Lou and Mabika are black. “Until something is done about that player, Miami decided not to move on,” Yedlin said.
Fauntas, who scored his 12th goal of the season, was not available for comment pending an investigation by the club, MLS and the Professional Referee Organization, a club spokesman said. Judge Ismail Elfat told a pool reporter that no officer heard racism or slurs, and none were found by video review.
United manager Wayne Rooney said: “The referee came and spoke to me and Phil and there was a complaint, I’m sure there will be an investigation. “So I have nothing more to say.”
In a statement, United said: “DC United are aware of the allegations made against a player during the game against Inter Miami CF. The club is working closely with Major League Soccer and Inter Miami to investigate the incident.
“MLS has zero tolerance for abusive and offensive language and we take these allegations very seriously,” the league said in a statement. “The investigation into this matter will begin immediately.”
After six weeks United have made Christian Benteke the most expensive player in club history.Rooney finally got the chance to deploy the summer signing with the club’s only star player, Fauntas, having missed Benteke’s first four games through injury.
Certainly Benteke and Fauntas found the net on Sunday. But Miami got two goals from Leonardo Campana and a breakaway winner from Gonzalo Higuain after Fauntas came off.
The offense was good for a D.C. team (7-19-6) that had not scored in eight of its last 10 games. Fauntas’ return, however, was marred by charges, as was Miami’s crucial victory in the middle of the playoff race.
“It’s a very dark time for us,” said Yedlin, a member of the Black Players for Change group in MLS. “It’s something I’ve talked about my whole career, so it’s really sad to see it live.”
Benteke opened the scoring for DC in the 22nd minute. The Belgian striker stabbed United midfielder Chris Durkin into the box at the far post.
Miami (12-13-6) tied Campana’s 39th goal of the contest and took the lead again when the Ecuadorian forward finished 53rd from close range.
Fauntas equalized for United four minutes later. Miami cleared DC’s free kick into the top half, with the Greek forward making a healthy move along the way as he launched a one-time volley.
But the ensuing delay, with Elfat stopping several times to connect with Rooney and Neville, and 66th-minute substitute Fountas thwarted United’s equaliser.
“We were trying to press,” Benteke said. “He slowed the game down on that break.”
Both teams tried to win in the fourth minute before Miami came out on a counterattack. Indiana Vasiliev’s low cross was headed wide by Higuain to Yedlin.
“It doesn’t even feel like a victory,” Yedlin said. “Now we’ll see what MLS does. [the accusation]. My eyes will be more on that. Now they need to act and take a stand and show that not only does this have no place in the game, but it has no place in society.
Here’s what else you need to know about the DC United loss.
Former England teammates met
The match was the first between Rooney and Neville since Rooney took over as United manager in July. They were teammates at Manchester United in 2004–05 and with the England national team from 2003 to 2007.
Neville Rooney credits Fauntas for taking him out of the game.
“I have to give Wayne Rooney a big, big credit for coming through the way he did,” Neville said. “I’ve always known it as a class act. More than what he did today, I think he went higher in my estimation than the goal he scored.
International break will take place.
United will be shut down next weekend as much of MLS shuts down for the final international window as national teams adjust their tactics and get a final look at players ahead of the World Cup in Qatar. DC visits CF Montreal on October 1 before hosting FC Cincinnati on October 9 to close out the season.