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Game 7: Rooney’s coming

The Colorado Rapids prepare for Rooney & DCU this weekend.

John A. Babiak - @Photog_JohnB

Yep, in case you hadn’t heard, the Colorado Rapids game vs. the Seattle Sounders earlier this week was postponed until September. But that doesn’t mean our next game won’t be a challenge because Wayne Rooney and DC United are coming to town.

Let’s make one thing very clear right off the bat. This is so not the same DC team that we have played in the past. They struggled mightily in 2017 and the first half of 2018, and then they managed to get two things which turned their fortunes around.

The first is a brand-spankin’ new stadium, Audi Field. Once DC took up residency on July 14th last year, they went from a bottom-rung team to the playoffs. The second was one of the biggest signings in MLS history: Manchester United, Everton, and England national team legend, Wayne Rooney. Once he came in, they became a completely different team. They secured 12 of their 14 wins in the second half of the season. They went from tied for worst in the league in 2017 to getting into the playoffs in 2018 to being considered an Eastern Conference powerhouse in 2019.

Despite that, there are some rumors that Rooney may not actually be in the 18. Yep, much like how Zlatan missed out on the Rapids game last year, we may have another time where we’re missing out on seeing an international superstar. The Washington Post reported that he missed training due to ‘flu-like symptoms’. While any logical person would look at this situation and go ‘oh, Rooney must have gotten ill’, I have never once tried to apply logic so I’ll instead think of it as Rooney secretly afraid to face our team. That being said, he did travel with the team.

DC’s preferred formation is the 4-2-3-1. Normally you’d see Rooney at the top, and supporting him you have USMNT player and second DP Paul Arriola, young Argentinian Lucas Rodriguez, and Lucho Acosta. Acosta, another young Argentinian at 24, has been allegedly attracting attention from European giants such as Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United. DC has secured his contract for the time, but I believe it is only a matter of time until they see a chance to sell him off.

So far in 2019, they’ve scored nine goals over their six games (four of them are from Rooney alone).

Another key player is is goalkeeperBill Hamid, the DC mainstay having been with the team since 2009. Though he has been out on loan since 2018, he has nearly appeared nearly 200 times for them. He also has a few senior USMNT caps, though the starting role may be going to Zack Steffen going forward.

The last few games for DC have been somewhat unique. After giving RSL an absolute thorough thrashing 5-0, they dropped a huge home game against LAFC, losing 0-4. This also resulted in a red card for Rooney, which caused DC to clearly struggle against the Montreal Impact at home as well (that game ended scoreless at 0-0). Rooney served his suspension for the Montreal match, so he is available for Saturday.

Right now, I think the fate of this game may be entirely up to whether or not Rooney is healthy. He has a significant impact when he’s on the pitch, but if he won’t be available, then things might be stressful for them.

We’re seeing a lot of good work from our offense with Kei Kamara and Cole Bassett had himself an absolute killer of a game against Orlando for a 17-year-old. We’re starved for a win, and it would be a heck of a mental turnaround for us to be able to take three from a team that has MLS pundits already floating around the term “Supporters’ Shield winners”.

Even though we missed out on #SnowClasico4 thanks to the postponed game, I’m hoping that this Saturday will bring another legendary game to Rapids fans.