As Wayne Rooney embarks on another chapter in his professional career, the 32-year-old will encounter some familiar faces in Major League Soccer. By joining D.C. United, Rooney is set to square off with a number of former teammates, European soccer opponents, and competitors on the international stage with his new club.
When the Black-and-Red welcome the Colorado Rapids to Audi Field for the first time on July 28, Rooney will be tasked with scoring against a goalkeeper with whom he is very familiar—Tim Howard. Rooney and Howard’s connection dates back to 2003 when Rooney burst on to the scene with Everton, while Howard was the goalkeeper for Manchester United. Since that first matchup against one another, the two have been teammates, Premier League opponents, and World Cup opponents throughout the years.
After Rooney’s transfer from Everton to Manchester United in 2004, Rooney and Howard suited up 16 times together for the Red Devils. The legends played matches together in the League Cup, UEFA Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, and the EFL Cup. In those 16 matches with Rooney and Howard, Manchester United’s record was 8-4-4, including an English League Cup in 2006 for the Red Devils.
Rooney’s first two career games opposite of Howard occurred while the Englishman represented Everton and Howard played for Manchester United. After being teammates in Manchester for two years, Howard then moved on to Everton in 2006. While Howard was with Everton, Rooney and Manchester United squared off against the famed American goalkeeper 11 times. Overall, during the 13 matches that pitted Rooney and Howard against one another, Rooney’s teams earned a 5-6-2 record. In those 13 games, Rooney has bested Howard for goals three times, including a brace during a 2011 match that ended in a 4-4 draw, while Howard has shut out Rooney’s teams three times.
On the international stage, Rooney and Howard have met just twice in matches between England and the United States. The first matchup came in an international friendly in 2008, which England won 2-0. The second meeting came in group play of the 2010 World Cup, a match that ended in a 1-1 draw. Click here for D.C. United v. Colorado Rapids tickets.
The Black-and-Red host the Chicago Fire on October 7, when Rooney will go head to head with former Manchester United teammate Bastian Schweinsteiger for just the fourth time in his career.
Before Schweinsteiger made the transition to MLS, he played two seasons with Manchester United between 2015 and 2017. Rooney and Schweinsteiger suited up with one another for 25 matches, playing to a 16-2-7 record with the Red Devils. While they never assisted each other on a goal, the two did combine for an FA Cup title in 2016 and an English League Cup title in 2017.
The first meeting between the two European stars took place in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals in 2010, a match Manchester United won 3-2 against Bayern Munich. Rooney assisted on the first goal of the match for the Red Devils. The two sides met again in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals in 2014, fighting to a 1-1 draw. Rooney assisted on Manchester United’s only goal, while Schweinsteiger scored Bayern Munich’s lone goal.
Rooney and Schweinsteiger’s national teams, England and Germany, have met just once during the stars’ international careers. The two faced off during the 2010 World Cup in the Round of 16—Schweinsteiger and Germany advanced with a 4-1 win, ending England’s quest for the title.
Rooney and Schweinsteiger will meet again at Audi Field on October 7 for a nationally-televised match on ESPN. The Black-and-Red and the Fire are also scheduled to meet on October 28 in their regular season finale at Chicago’s Toyota Park. Click here for United v. Chicago Fire tickets.
Rooney will meet another former Premier League foe when D.C. United play host to Jozy Altidore and Toronto FC on October 17 at Audi Field.
In the Premier League, Altidore made appearances against Rooney with Hull City and Sunderland FC. In those meetings, Rooney owns a 2-0-1 record against Altidore. In their first matchup in 2009, D.C. United’s newest addition scored one goal and recorded two assists in Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Hull City.
The two prolific international goalscorers also met in the 2010 World Cup. Rooney, who is England’s all-time leading scorer, and Altidore, who ranks third in goals for the United States Men’s National Team, were both held without a score as the match ended in a 1-1 draw in group play. Click here for United v. Toronto FC tickets.
David Villa and New York City FC travel to the District to take on Rooney and United at Audi Field on October 21. While Rooney and Villa both had long careers on their respective national teams, the icons' two meetings this MLS season will be just their second and third against one another.
The only prior meeting between the Englishman and the Spaniard came in the UEFA Champions League final in 2011 between FC Barcelona and Manchester United. Rooney tied the score at 1-1 with a goal in the 34th minute after receiving a drop pass from Ryan Giggs, leading to a powerful strike beyond Barcelona goalkeeper Víctor Valdés. Later, Villa scored the third Barcelona goal with a pinpoint strike to the upper-right corner past the diving effort of Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.
Villa and FC Barcelona ultimately bested Rooney and Manchester United 3-1 to capture the UEFA Champions League. In addition to their October encounter at Audi Field, Rooney and Villa will also face off at Yankee Stadium on September 8. Click here for United v. New York City FC tickets.