The MLS playoffs has a new look this year, with all teams now pitted against each other in do-or-die knockout rounds instead of the two-legged conference semifinals and finals format. For fifth-seeded DC United, that means Wayne Rooney could be playing his final MLS match when the postseason kicks off Saturday.
Rooney, who starred for Everton and Manchester United for 16 years before coming to the U.S. ahead of the 2018 season, announced in August that he’ll be going back to England to be a player and assistant coach for second-tier Derby County. He’s led the team in goals each of the past two years, including some highlight-reel strikes from beyond midfield.
DC United finished with 50 points this season, which tied Toronto FC for the fourth-best mark in the Eastern Conference. Toronto took the tiebreaker in the Eastern Conference standings and will host DC United tonight at 6 p.m. for the right to face New York City FC in the conference semifinals Wednesday.
The signing of Rooney and opening of Audi Field in 2018 created a lot of buzz among D.C. fans but the team is still looking to reclaim the success it sustained in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Since winning the MLS title in 2007, DC United has finished with 50+ points just four times.
The team captain’s time in D.C. may be coming to an end sooner than expected, but after being ousted by Columbus Crew SC last postseason in a match that came down to penalty kicks, DC United has one more chance to live up to the hype that came with Rooney’s presence before it’s too late.
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DC United players' latest training facility partnership now comes with a spa, pool and celebrity chefs.
The team entered into a five-year partnership with The St. James, a sporting complex in Virginia, the club announced on Tuesday.
“We’re excited to partner with The St. James, the premier destination for sports and wellness in the region,” Andy Bush, D.C. United Chief Revenue Officer, said in a statement. “We wanted to give our first-team access to expertise, services and facilities that would give them the best platform to compete on the field. The St. James has been a great partner to us throughout the season and has been integral to our team’s early success in 2019. Our partnership with The St. James will allow us to continue our upward trajectory and fuel the chase to bring trophies back to the District.”
The partnership will allow the access to performance strength and conditioning, injury prevention and wellness services for all team personnel. The facility also has the only FIFA regulation sized indoor pitch in this area.
D.C. United is coming off a 2-0 loss to New York City FC earlier this week.
Their record currently sits at 2-4-2 and they have a chance to improve their win column total on Wednesday when they hit the road to take on the Columbus Crew.
By Joey Sabet
Wayne Rooney will wear his familiar No. 10 shirt Thursday night in his final match for England, when the Three Lions meet the United States in an international friendly at Wembley Stadium in London.
Rooney, who will earn his 120th cap for England, will start the match on the bench before entering, according to his manager Gareth Southgate.
“All of our group have great respect for Wayne and they feel that it is fitting that his last game should be in the No. 10,” Southgate said in a news conference Wednesday.
The D.C. United forward’s 53 goals with England is most in his country’s decorated soccer history, and no English outfield player has more international appearances than Rooney.
He left Everton Football Club to join D.C. United midway through the 2018 MLS season, appearing in 20 games and starting 18.
Despite his relatively brief time with the club, his 12 goals led United, and he spearheaded a turnaround that took the team from the bottom of the Eastern Conference to a berth in the postseason, where they fell in the opening round to the Columbus Crew in penalty kicks.
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