WASHINGTON — Wayne Rooney traveled with D.C. United for its Saturday match against the Montreal Impact, despite his broken nose and bruised eye.
“It looks a bit worse with the black eye or whatever, but it feels fine and I’ve had no problems sleeping. I’ll play as normal,” Rooney said after a training session before the trip. “I’ll be available for Saturday, no problems.”
United’s medical staff evaluated Rooney immediately after their last match for concussion symptoms. The Englishman passed the concussion test and trained in full beginning Tuesday.
“The thing to worry there is the concussion stuff, not the cuts. Cuts heal,” United coach Ben Olsen said. “Fortunately, there were no signs of a concussion.”
D.C. United fought hard for a result last week against the Colorado Rapids. Rooney scored the opening goal and put his face on the line for his teammates during a Rapids corner kick in the waning minutes to maintain the 2-1 victory.
It was Rooney’s fourth match, and he found a groove with midfielders Zoltan Stieber, Yamil Asad and Luciano Acosta. Acosta was United’s playmaker last season and has quickly developed a partnership with Rooney on the field despite their different backgrounds.
“Obviously, there is a little bit of a language barrier, but football is what it is. Whether you can speak the same language or not, you learn from training and playing with each other,” Rooney said. “[Acosta] is a clever football player, and I think it’s important that the two of us try and feed off each other because we know we, us two, can be the ones to win us games.”
While Rooney secures partnerships with existing members of the United contingent, the club still looks to bolster its backline before the secondary transfer window closes Wednesday.
United’s outside back position took a hit early this season with the announcement that left back Taylor Kemp would not return this season after labrum surgery. Right back and versatile player Nick DeLeon is “day-to-day” after a knee injury. Defenders Oneil Fisher and Joseph Mora have played most of the minutes on the defensive flanks.
“[DeLeon] and [Kemp] aren’t coming back any time soon,” Olsen said. “We want to make sure we are covered in a few areas … There are creative ways to solve some of this stuff. We will see how the next week goes.”
Friday night, Steven Goff of the Washington Post reported D.C. United is exploring the possibility of reassuring homegrown goalkeeper Bill Hamid. Citing unnamed sources, the article said Hamid and the club were working with Hamid’s current European club FC Midtjylland on an agreement before the close of the summer transfer window.
How to watch
What: D.C. United at Montreal Impact
Where: Stade Saputo – Montreal, Canada
When: Saturday, August 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Watch: TVAS, ESPN+
Predicted Starting XI: David Ousted; Joseph Mora, Kofi Opare, Steven Birnbaum, Oniel Fisher; Junior Moreno, Yamil Asad, Luciano Acosta, Russell Canouse, Zoltan Stieber; Wayne Rooney (C)