Feb 24, 2023 - Sports

Wayne Rooney wants D.C. United to increase intensity this season

Wayne Rooney on the sidelines

It's a long road back to glory. Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

D.C. United kicks off Saturday with Wayne Rooney at the helm for his first full season as manager (save any rumors of him returning early to England).

Why it matters: D.C. United has had a lousy few years, disappointing the beer-soaked faithful at Audi Field. Rooney now wants a high-energy playing style to turn around the four-time MLS Cup champions.

Word on the pitch: In a recent training ground video, Rooney gives a taste of how he wants his men to play: harder than ever — to win back possession and stay “f***ing organized.”

  • “It takes balls, it takes courage,” he says, pepping a team that finished dead last in last year's Eastern Conference.

What to watch: United attackers include Christian Benteke, who like some other former European players in their 30s has migrated to the MLS. The club last month acquired central midfielder Mateusz Klich, who helped Leeds United rise to the English Premier League.

  • One bummer: Chilean winger Martín Rodríguez was acquired midseason last year but will miss this season after he tore his right ACL in training.

Where to watch: Tickets are still available for the 7:30pm Audi Field season opener against Toronto FC — which finished one spot above D.C. last year.

For better or worse, we are now firmly in the Apple TV era, with games no longer on local broadcasters. The MLS entered a 10-year streaming partnership with Apple, promising a “transformative period in sports.”

What’s new: A Cherry Blossom Kit was just released, in white and pink with iconic Adidas black trim.

  • Audi Field’s east and west roof is now also completely covered, so fans don’t need to worry as much about being rained on.

Between the lines: The grass at Audi Field "is going to be put to the test,” with United, the Washington Spirit, and XFL team D.C. Defenders, writes the Post’s soccer reporter Steven Goff.


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