I have to confess that the motivation to purchase the new Apple TV MLS Season Pass has to do with the blockbuster additions of new European talent across the league. Lorenzo Insigne’s jump to Toronto FC, Leonardo Campana moving from the Premier League to Inter Miami, and Hector Herrera in Houston just to name a few. But, I’m most interested in what Wayne Rooney and company will do with Christian Benteke and Mateusz Klich along with previous big ticket addition, Taxiarchis (Taxi) Fountas.
No doubt the boys in black and red stuggled in a multude of ways last season. According to MLSsoccer.com, DC United were the worst defensive team in the league and scored a league low 36 goals. All that said, a new year means a new start and the front office seems to be going all in this season.
But, hang on! Let me briefly touch on head coach Wayne Rooney. I see the new gaffer in the same way I view a college football head coach. Is Wayne Rooney a good coach, just a great recruiter, or both? Rooney brings the connections and experience but, at least for me, not the coaching success needed to take a loaded DC United side to the next level. Of course, I hope I’m wrong and, honestly, I’m too novice of a English football fan to know anything substantial about such things.
Now, back to the field. How has DC United addressed their attacking and defensive woes? Offensively, Benteke is going to give defenses in the Eastern Conference a lot of heartburn, as long as he gets the service he needs. Therefore, I’m interested in what role Klich will play. Will the former Leeds United standout play more of an attacking midfielder or be a possession type player? Regardless, he gives Wayne Rooney a lot of options. On the defensive end, Pedro Santos is a quality pick up. Santos is incredibly versitle as both an attacking fullback and midfielder. To me, the former Crew man will be Rooney’s wild card. Add Taxi Fountas to the mix and you really have a formidable attack to build on.
New year, new team, new coach, new streaming service. Everything is exciting and, stangely, up in the air, which makes opening weekend much more intreguing. It is also important to note that Wayne Rooney declared last month that “there’s no chance” D.C. United will finish at the bottom of the league. For me, that’s too low of a bar to set for this team, especially with these blockbuster additions. Bold prediction alert: I expect the boys in black and red to contend for a playoff spot. Fingers crossed, of course.