The LA Galaxy and D.C. United have experienced frustration for most of their seasons. Neither team is positioned for the playoffs and United has the worst record in MLS.
The Galaxy (6-7-3, 21 points) are in the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings as they get set to host the United, which is 2-7-4 with the league’s lowest point total of 10. The teams will play Wednesday at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
Despite their bottom-of-the-barrel status, United has reason for hope with the recent acquisition of 32-year-old English soccer icon Wayne Rooney.
The forward has reportedly agreed to a 2 1/2-year contract worth $13 million, becoming the highest paid player in team history. The United also agreed to purchase his rights from Premier League club Everton for an undisclosed transfer fee.
“He’s going to make us better, I’m certain, in a whole bunch of areas,” United coach Ben Olsen said. “But our issues are the issues, and we’re going to have to solve them.”
Last Saturday, the United twice tied the New England Revolution, only to allow the Revolution to take the lead a few minutes after both times. Olsen has criticized his team for failing to keep its momentum and he has mentioned he does not think the problems will disappear with Rooney.
Olsen, however, does welcome the excitement in which Rooney’s signing brings.
“The addition that we will bring in will help this club in a whole bunch of different ways — first and foremost, on the field,” Olsen said. “That’s where we need help right now, to get us over the hump.”
Darren Mattocks and Yamil Asad lead United with seven goals each. Just four players have more than one goal. Rooney, the leading scorer in history for both Manchester United and the English national team, should significantly contribute.
“He’s going to bring that finishing touch and a little bit of that game-changing mentality that we need right now,” midfielder Ian Harkes said. “We have been creating goals this year and have been setting it up. To bring in a guy like that definitely can’t hurt you.”
The Galaxy hope it takes longer than Wednesday’s matchup for Rooney to get acclimated. They are concerned about their defense after surrendering a two-goal lead at San Jose last Saturday, finishing with a 3-3 tie.
Star forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring for the Galaxy just before the end of the first minute with a one-time volley of Chris Pontius’ header. Ibrahimovic made it 3-1 in the 25th minute with a free kick under the wall.
The Galaxy twice conceded penalties that allowed the Earthquakes back into the game.
“Too many mistakes. It’s all about organization and the focus and the confidence, obviously,” Ibrahimovic said. “The team that does the most mistakes is often the team that loses the game.
“And you see the mistakes we are doing, it’s simple mistakes. Basic things that should not happen. Things that, I don’t want to be too critical, but after many games, same mistakes.”