Wayne Rooney is set to play his final game for England today, as the United States visits Wembley to take on the Three Lions. While the friendly is part of England’s preparations for a Nations League match against Croatia, the match is also designed to salute Rooney’s achievements and to raise awareness of his charity, the Wayne Rooney Foundation. For the USMNT, who have somehow managed to go over a full calendar year with an interim head coach, the game’s purpose is more vague. It’s a good test for individual players to face up against a World Cup semifinalist on the road, but until US Soccer names a permanent head coach, the program is stuck in the mud.
Key player: Wayne Rooney
We know D.C. United’s only representative won’t be starting, but we’re not a Three Lions site, so screw their starters. Coming off of a spectacular first four months in MLS, Rooney will enter this game off the bench and look to end his England career with a bang. The English media has reacted with typically nonsensical rage to the idea of a friendly being used in part as a testimonial for their country’s leading scorer, so wouldn’t it be great to see Rooney add another goal to his total? Just to shut them up, and as a rebuke to blind criticisms of MLS? And I’ll answer for you: Yes! That would be nice.
Since Dave Sarachan’s bungling means no spot in the USMNT set-up for Paul Arriola, Russell Canouse, or Bill Hamid, we’re here for Rooney and Rooney only.
Location: Wembley Stadium (London, England)
Kickoff time: 2:45pm Eastern (though kickoff appears to be set for 3)
USMNT starting 11:
Just gonna leave a note here pointing out that you could easily improve this team by starting Canouse over Wil Trapp, moving Christian Pulisic into the middle, starting Arriola over Julian Green on the right wing, and bringing Hamid in over Brad Guzan in goal.
Just saying. For Gregg.
England starting 11:
Available TV: ESPN2, UniMas, Univision Deportes
Available streaming: WatchESPN, ESPN3, Univision Now, Univision Deportes En Vivo
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
What do we have to say about it?: Our friends over at Stars and Stripes FC have your complete preview, while we also talked to United boss Ben Olsen on the silliness of the criticism aimed at this friendly.
What are you drinking?: Have you seen the forecast for today? Coffee or hot green tea.
This is the place for all your pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion. Vamos Wazza!