Wayne Rooney Preparing to Take MLS by Storm

Friday, May 11, 2018 3:14 PM UTC

Friday, May. 11, 2018 3:14 PM UTC

Premier League legend Wayne Rooney is following in the footsteps of David Beckham and Zlatan Ibrahimovic by heading over the Atlantic to play Stateside, but what can DC United fans expect from England's record goal scorer?

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Jose Mourinho talks about Wayne Rooney's potential move to the MLS in America. #MUFC pic.twitter.com/Fbefdsh2Rm

— RedMancunian (@RedMancunian) May 11, 2018

DC United fans are full of excitement at the prospect of Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney crossing the Atlantic and starring for their team. He is the Red Devils’ all-time leading scorer and also broke the England goal-scoring record over the course of a long and glorious career. He will be taking a well-trodden path, following in the path of a range of European superstars who have seen out their twilight Stateside in recent times.

David Beckham kicked off the trend to MLS when he moved to the LA Galaxy, and since then Kaka, Thierry Henry, David Villa, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole and, most recently, Zlatan Ibrahimovic have made the journey. They have enjoyed varying degrees of success, but Ibrahimovic’s was arguably the greatest debut in MLS history. The leonine Swede came on with his team, the Galaxy, trailing 2-1 against new franchise and local rival Los Angeles FC. He blazed in an outrageous equalizer from 45 yards (see below), looping a powerful lob over the opposition goalkeeper. Then, right at the death, he got on the end of Cole’s cross to nod in the winner. Cue rapturous applause from the Galaxy faithful.

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DC United fans will expect a similar impact from Rooney – and he is more than capable of delivering it. Rooney played with Ibrahimovic at Man Utd, and they are stars of a similar stature in world football. Both are past their best, but there is a definite drop in standard in the MLS compared to the top European leagues, and that allowed the likes of Henry and Beckham to thrive, despite aging legs. It also allowed a journeyman lower league player in England, Bradley Wright-Phillips, to become an MLS legend. Rooney is a wonderful player, and he still has that spark that can terrorize defenders. He left Man Utd last summer and spent the past season at his boyhood club, Everton, where he did not play every game, but still wound up top scorer. Yet he clearly feels it is time for a move, and DC is an appealing destination.

The franchise was extremely successful during the formative years of MLS, winning four MLS Cups between 1996 and 2004, but it has since failed to hit such heights. It has been financially hamstrung by the need to devote funds to building a new stadium, the $400 million Audi Field, and that has restricted manager Ben Olsen’s ability to compete in the transfer market. As such, DC United currently sits bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference table. The franchise needs a superstar to galvanize its fortunes and lift everyone associated with the team, and the likes of Andres Iniesta and Mario Ballotelli were touted, but Rooney would represent an exceptional coup.

He has never failed to score goals, and he has the intelligence, technique and power to be an absolutely devastating weapon in MLS. DC United is currently all the way out at +15000 to win the MLS Cup, and it is the huge underdog going into most games. However, that could all change if Rooney touches down in the capital to rejuvenate this franchise’s fortunes. It would be massive news, likely to go through soon, and it could make the start of a revival for this historically great team.

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