sport news MLS: Can Wayne Rooney drag DC United from last place in the East to former ... trends now

sport news MLS: Can Wayne Rooney drag DC United from last place in the East to former ... trends now
sport news MLS: Can Wayne Rooney drag DC United from last place in the East to former ... trends now

sport news MLS: Can Wayne Rooney drag DC United from last place in the East to former ... trends now

Wayne Rooney is used to being at the bottom. 

Never during his playing career, yet, his coaching life hasn't been so fortunate. Ever since taking the leap onto the sidelines, hardship has become his habitat. 

Rooney has walked into similar surrounds in both of his head coaching roles. First at Derby County in England's Championship and now with DC United in the MLS.

Both teams resided last in their respective leagues when Rooney took to the sidelines.  

The player-turned-head coach officially signed on with DC United on July 12, following the sacking of Hernan Losada

The player-turned-head coach officially signed on with DC United on July 12, following the sacking of Hernan Losada

Rooney oversaw a dramatic escape from relegation during his first season in management before Derby succumbed to an inevitable, unavoidable end to their time in the second division. 

While relegation isn't on offer for DC United, there is plenty of work ahead of Rooney, his staff and players. 

As it stands, DC United are the joint most successful club in American soccer history, alongside Pele's New York Cosmos and the MLS' Galacticos, LA Galaxy. 

The Black and Red have won four MLS Cups, four Supporters Shields, three US Open Cups and a CONCACAF Champions League title. 

Rooney is largely familiar with the infrastructure, off-field personnel and even some of the players -- similar to his time at Derby County

Rooney is largely familiar with the infrastructure, off-field personnel and even some of the players -- similar to his time at Derby County

Now they are a long way from the once familiar feeling of success. United's last title was almost a decade ago, winning the US Open Cup in 2013. 

During Rooney's two-year playing stint, the capital club were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs and the Round of 16 in both campaigns.

Thirteen games are left in the 2022 MLS regular season and there is still much to play for. Pride aside, Rooney and his players will be looking to prove they can survive and succeed at the level. 

Here, Dailymail.com looks at how Rooney can use his experience at Derby to help turn United's fortunes around... 

Rooney excelled during his playing career with DC United, scoring 23 times in 48 appearances

Rooney excelled during his playing career with DC United, scoring 23 times in 48 appearances

Rooney became a fan favorite at Derby County thanks to his loyalty and commitment to their troubled cause

Rooney became a fan favorite at Derby County thanks to his loyalty and commitment to their troubled cause

Ability to galvanize his players amid adversity 

The struggles on the pitch at Pride Park were underpinned by turmoil off it. Derby were under a transfer embargo from the summer of 2020, unable to pursue new players or even resign existing players, whose contracts were set to expire.

Owner Mel Morris, a passionate Derby fan, who made his money by investing in the startup behind the mobile game Candy Crush Saga, has mismanaged the club.

In a desperate bid to reach the Premier League, Derby had overspent disastrously and breached EFL financial rules along the way.

From the beginning of Rooney's management, Morris was trying to sell the club, but could not find a buyer. Eventually, in September 2021, Derby was placed into administration.

'Roo' had a fantastic relationship with the majority of Derby's playing squad in the 2020/21 and 21/22 seasons

'Roo' had a fantastic relationship with the majority of Derby's playing squad in the 2020/21 and 21/22 seasons

If the situation was difficult in the 2020-21 season, it became impossible following administration during the subsequent campaign.

Still under a transfer embargo, Derby were down to the bare bones, but in addition, points deductions began to pile up, too.

In total, 21 points were deducted for financial rule breaches and going into administration. As the season wore on, the administrators struggled to find a buyer willing to part with the £50M thought to be needed to rescue the club, which was now heading for League One.

The debts were eye-watering and included around $37million owed to the tax man.

Derby were left with the bare bones from Rooney's first-year squad with the club in financial ruin for the 21/22 season

Derby were left with the bare bones from Rooney's first-year squad with the club in financial ruin for the 21/22 season

Inevitably, Derby had to reduce costs and out of contract players left, others were sold, including promising youth prospects who went for next to nothing.

Despite the hopeless situation, Rooney galvanized his players and mounted a spirited rear-guard action. He embraced the harsh hand he was dealt and not give up.

For a moment it looked like the Great Escape may actually be on, but in the end the pressure of the points deduction forced Derby down and they were relegated as the second bottom club, seven points from safety.

Despite the lack of players, without the deductions, they would have survived easily in 17th place.

DC United represent a fresh challenge and a much less complicated off-field landscape

DC United represent a fresh challenge and a much less complicated off-field landscape

Loyalty to the project
DC's tale of the tape  

United's MLS record in the last five seasons

2018-  R1 playoff loss. 9th placed finish

2019- R1 playoff loss. 10th placed finish. 

2020- DNQ for playoffs. 24th overall.

2021 - DNQ for playoffs. 16th overall.

2022 - Currently last in EC. 27th overall.

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Rooney handled himself with great dignity at Derby, even as the administration process foundered.

He refused to be tempted by links to management jobs at his former club, Everton, or then-Premier League side Burnley.

The effort to save Derby from ruin extended well beyond the club and became a focus for the entire city, with Rooney at the heart of it. 

The fight of the players epitomized the spirit in the industrial town.

In April, Rooney threw his weight behind an American investor, Chris Kirchner, who wanted to take over the club. In the end that bid collapsed, which was a blow to the club and to Rooney. 

He had struck up a good relationship with the prospective owner and thought he could see a way forward.

At the 11th hour, local property developer – and another Derby fan - David Clowes announced a bid to buy the club after purchasing D Pride Park stadium.

His company Clowes Developments (UK) Ltd, provided a loan to the club to allow them to start next season.

However, with a year left on his contract, Rooney told the administrators, he would like to be 'relieved of his duties as first-team manager' with immediate effect.

'I feel the club now needs to be led by someone with fresh energy and not affected by events that have happened over the last 18 months,' he said.

He was loyal and committed to the Pride Park cause. 

Rooney is beloved not only in DC but in his homeland, including pockets of the Midlands, Liverpool and Manchester

Rooney is beloved not only in DC but in his homeland, including pockets of the Midlands, Liverpool and Manchester

Close relationship with the fans 
Stats that matter 
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