Major League Soccer has attracted viral attention on two occasions this year, following monumental efforts from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney. Rooney’s late heroics against Orlando City even had the British snobs watching back in enjoyment – It’s quite alright this retirement league stuff.
As soon as Wayne Rooney was linked with D.C. United, many were guilty of questioning the move, including myself. Maybe the uncertainty was premature. I mean, he scored 10 goals in the Premier League last season, one more than both Alexis Sanchez and Dele Alli.
I must stress that I was never bringing Rooney’s quality or ability into doubt because that would be silly. He was scoring Premier League screamers at the tender age of 16… The questions that I and many others were asking was is he moving to the States for the right reasons? Does he have the hunger left? Can he handle the travel? That sort of thing.
Here’s a hot take: Wayne Rooney can have the same or similar impact with D.C. as what David Beckham had with the LA Galaxy.
Granted, he probably won’t see the same success as Beckham had in terms of trophies, but he can help D.C. grow as a brand worldwide, especially in the United Kingdom. But most of all, he improves them as a team. If he can help fire United into the playoffs this season then that would be a magnificent achievement given the team were rock-bottom of the Eastern Conference when he joined.
Speaking to the average soccer fan in the UK about MLS, they will only be able to recall the so-called ‘glamour’ clubs that Sky Sports have always chosen to broadcast. The likes of the New York club’s, Orlando City and the LA Galaxy due to their success, and most recently Atlanta United. D.C. United have never been a team that would enter discussion, and obviously that’s about to change due to Rooney’s influence.
After heroic performances against Orlando City and Portland Timbers last night, I honestly do expect D.C. to sneak a playoff spot. A postseason featuring Rooney would be exciting and it would almost certainly increase the attention on the league.
Written by Luke Beaumont – (@_LukeBeaumont)
Main image credit: Sports Illustrated