It has been one year since D.C. United captain Wayne Rooney joined the Black-and-Red on a three-and-a-half year designated player contract. Since arriving in the nation’s capital, the Englishman has quickly established himself as one of the best players in the league and was recently selected to his first MLS All-Star Game.
After 16 seasons in the Premier League with Manchester United and Everton FC, the 33-year-old is not showing any signs of slowing down. Rooney joined the Black-and-Red halfway through the 2018 season, while D.C. United were struggling in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference. The forward immediately made an impact leading the Black-and-Red from last place in the Eastern Conference, to a fourth-place finish and a playoff appearance. Despite playing only half of the season, Rooney scored 12 goals and recorded seven assists on his way to making the 2018 MLS Best XI. To start the 2019 season, Rooney leads D.C. United with nine goals, five assists, and 51 chances created.
After 37 MLS regular season matches, the Englishman has recorded 21 goals and 12 assists. He also contributed two goals and one assist in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup matches against Philadelphia Union and New York City FC this season. In his most recent match, Rooney scored one of the best goals of his career and what could be the goal of the season. He collected the ball in his own half and fired a long-range effort from 70 yards out over goalkeeper Brian Rowe and into the back of the net to give United the victory against Orlando City SC on June 26. After the match, Rooney commented on his year anniversary with the club saying, “It’s been fantastic. I’ve enjoyed my time here over the course of the year and there is still a lot more to come.”
Wayne Rooney was not the first international superstar to make the switch from the Premier League to MLS, as he followed the footsteps of players like David Beckham and Thierry Henry. However, Rooney has been outstanding so far and he already has three more goals than David Beckham had in six seasons in MLS. Rooney has also recorded five more goals and assists than Henry had in his first two seasons with the New York Red Bulls. With their new stadium Audi Field, and new captain Wayne Rooney, D.C. United seem to be heading in the right direction. They are currently tied for second place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 8-4-6. Fans should be excited to see how far Rooney can lead the Black-and-Red as they face Eastern Conference rivals Toronto FC in their next match on June 29 at Audi Field.