DC United have signed Wayne Rooney looking to add goals to their attack. But Rooney’s game is not necessarily about goals, even if that’s what DC are searching for.
The best players in the world are attackers. Scoring goals is the hardest thing to do in this sport. That is why attackers cost the most, great strikers and creators are the rarest talents, and teams that score the most are often the ones that win the most.
The best team in MLS this year? Atlanta United, also the same team to have scored the most goals with the best creative midfielder in the league and the best striker in the league. That is no coincidence.
Contrast that to DC United. They sit in last place in the Eastern Conference with only 10 points from the first 12 games. They have scored only 19 goals on the season, with only the Seattle Sounders have conceded fewer on the year, and are desperately slipping out of the playoff race in the East.
More from MLS Multiplex
- Javier Milei Elected in Argentina: Potential Impacts on MLS and Signings of Argentine Players
- Orlando City and New York City FC in the Battle for Matías Arezo; Grêmio Enters Negotiations! Who Will Come Out on Top?
- USA, Honduras, Panama, and Canada Close in on a Spot in the 2024 Copa America
- De Gea Turns Down Al-Nassr’s Lucrative Offer: Speculation Points to Possible Reunion with Messi at Inter Miami
- Messi’s Magnetic Impact in the United States
Change needed to come. And quickly. And drastically. So it need, very much to the gratefulness of the DC faithful. Not only did change come, but it came in the most dramatic of ways. Using one of their DP roster positions, United signed Wayne Rooney from Everton. The deal, that had been rumoured for some time and was officially announced on Wednesday, is the biggest of the club’s history by some distance in regards to wage, profile and excitement.
But with that anticipation and profile comes expectation. Ultimately, Rooney, alongside his new teammates, will have to be the orchestrator of change and the creator and scorer of goals. That is the task that is now set before him, one that he is clearly capable of executing. But if DC think they are signing a striking thoroughbred who is a goalscorer through and through, then they will be disappointed when the 32-year-old makes his debut on July 14.
It remains to be seen what position Rooney is fielded in, but even if he is stationed as the lone centre-forward, he will not play as the line-breaking, channel-stretching striker that he used to be.
Rooney has been dropping deeper and deeper ever since he turned 26. He has been shifted into a central midfield role at times and has looked to be a commander rather than a pure finisher. That is not to say that he lacks the ability to score goals. His career record, 183 goals in 393 appearances Premier League appearances, tells you everything you need to know. And at the MLS level, he could be a lethal finisher.
Rather, he is not a natural goalscorer in the more traditional sense. He wants to be involved in every phase of play, picking holes in the defence from deep, creating chances in the final third, and scoring goals in the penalty area.
For DC United, a team desperate for goals, Wayne Rooney is not necessarily the traditional scorer of them. He will help, but not perhaps in the way that many may believe.