I had a chance to fire some quick questions at Ben Bromley of Black and Red United, our sister site covering D.C. United and the Washington Spirit, to see how the season is faring for Minnesota United’s foes:
Wayne Rooney has been remarkably productive so far. How has he fared compared to your expectations when he transferred?
Wayne Rooney has done a great job setting the sights of this team higher and has freed up all the players around him to do what they do best. Luciano Acosta has grown tremendously this year, and part of that is because of Wayne Rooney. Paul Arriola and Yamil Asad have been freed from being the guys to focus on to being lethal players in their own right. He has hit three or four shots off of various pieces of woodwork, and my only wish is that more of those start going in, but all available evidence says that they will.
Audi Field already looks like a fortress for DCU. How much has its opening changed the season for the club?
The opening of Audi Field has been amazing for D.C. United. Fans are closer to the field than they’ve ever been, and the revenue streams that it has given them allow signings like Wayne Rooney to become possible. We are still getting to know it, but as we grow into it over the next few months and years, it will become the place that this team deserves.
What’s the mood among the fanbase like with the potential of making the playoffs?
It has been a very back and forth year on the subject of the playoffs. The early season was rough, with missed opportunities that could have made the team’s situation right now much easier. Right now, we are clinging to every home game, needing to keep this streak up, but the team has played themselves into a good position. So, as fans, that means that every game right now becomes a must win.
If there’s an under the radar player for D.C., who is it and how do you expect him to perform tonight?
He’s not under the radar for us, but I feel like most of the league still doesn’t know Russell Canouse (unless you’re Matt Doyle [editor’s note: MLSSoccer.com’s Matt Doyle loves Canouse]). His injury for the first half of the season was a major reason why some opportunities were lost, an dhim coming back also coincided with the debut of Wayne Rooney, so his impact is under the radar there as well. He is a top-tier defensive midfielder in this league, and he has freed up members of the attack to do what they do best.
Between injuries and callups, who do you expect to feature in the starting XI?
Predicted lineup: Bill Hamid; Jalen Robinson, Kofi Opare, Steve Birnbaum, Joseph Mora; Russell Canouse, Chris Durkin; Paul Arriola, Luciano Acosta, Ulises Segura; Wayne Rooney.
Predict the final score:
2-1 victory for the home team.
Thanks again to Ben, and check out Black and Red United’s preview here.