While all eyes might have fallen on Allianz Field in the early hours of Sunday, Wayne Rooney could only mark his MLS return with a sluggish 2-0 loss away at Minnesota.
Although there might have been much excitement when it was announced that DC United’s former attacking star would be taking permanent charge in Washington, the ex-England skipper faces a huge task.
Failing to ask any questions away at the Loons and still firmly in the midst of an MLS nightmare, a double from the red-hot Amanuel Reynoso on either side of the interval wrapped up all three points for Minnesota.
In a showdown between two sides battling it out at opposite ends of their respective Conferences, we have taken a look at the main talking points from Sunday’s meeting in Saint Paul.
Who can stop Minnesota?
While it might be Rooney’s MLS return that will steal most of the headlines, there is no doubt that a high-flying Minnesota were more than deserving of maximum points here.
Although the Loons might have been disappointed to have had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Sporting Kansas earlier in the week, Head Coach Adrian Heath saw his side find an immediate response.
Despite enduring a public blip on either side of June’s international break, Minnesota have now managed to muster 13 points from just their last five MLS outings.
In the midst of what has become a stellar purple patch over the past few weeks, Heath has also seen his side pick up some notable scalps.
Bagging back-to-back 3-2 victories against Western Conference rivals Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy on their recent charge, it appears that Sunday’s hosts are breezing their way to another Final Series spot.
Quickly gaining a reputation for their displays in the final third, Heath will be hoping for his side to keep up their recent momentum when they host Premier League outfit Everton for a friendly showdown.
Rooney faces a real challenge
With it finally announced earlier in the week that Rooney would be making his return to Washington after a two-year spell as a player between 2018 and 2020, there is real hope that the 36-year-old can bring some stability.
However, immediately taking up his new post at Audi Field after parting ways with Derby last month, the ex-Manchester United icon will be more than aware that he faces a real task in the capital.
Failing to ask any questions here and more than deserving of their 2-0 defeat, DC are sat rock-bottom of the Eastern Conference and tipped as a standout pick to lift the wooden spoon.
In the midst of what has become an extended MLS nightmare, an action-packed 5-3 victory against Orlando on July 4th is the only win that Rooney’s new squad have collected from their last 11 appearances.
With their downbeat rut underlined by a woeful 7-0 drumming at the hands of Philadelphia earlier in the month, Rooney has no time to waste if he is to turn this sinking ship around.
Reynoso’s free-scoring run continues
After opening the 2022 campaign by mustering just a trio of strikes from any of Minnesota’s opening 15 domestic appearances, few would have expected Reynoso’s remarkable free-scoring run.
Opening the scoring with just 13 minutes on the clock after a wonderful finish with the outside of the boot, the one-time Boca Juniors man is arguably enjoying the form of his career.
Wrapping up all three points for Minnesota five minutes after the break after he swept home past Rafael Romo, the 26-year-old has been one of the MLS’ standout performers over recent weeks.
Spearheading the Loons’ charge up the Western Conference table, Reynoso has now bagged seven goals in as many appearances.
Also bagging a brace in Minnesota’s back-to-back 3-2 victories against Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy, Reynoso is now just a single strike from doubling his tally from the whole of the 2021 campaign.
In fact, already mustering nine MLS strikes this season, the former Boca starlet is just two goals away from equalling his overall tally as a professional since making his debut in 2016.
Minnesota: Clair, Taylor, Boxall, Dibassy, Lawrence, Trapp, Lod, Hiongwane, Reynoso, Fragapanem Amarilla
Subs: Fisher, Danladi, Rosales, Hayes
DC United: Romo, Durkin, Birnbaum, Hines-Ike, Guediri, Najar, Djeffal, Skundrich, Smith, Hopkins, Estrada
Subs: Robertha, Canouse, Odoi-Atsem, Zanne, Ku-DiPietro
Goals: Reynoso 13′, 50′
Yellow Cards: Guediri
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Jair Marrufo
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!