Rooney's D.C. United will host Schweinsteiger's Chicago Fire at Audi Field (1 pm ET | ESPN - Full TV & Streaming Info), the two teams in generally different form this season. While D.C. United started slow this year, they are on a quest from behind to qualify for the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs, while the Fire have already been eliminated from postseason contention – although they have only lost one of their last five games in a late-season revival.
Schweinsteiger, who was the big-name addition last season who helped turn his team's fortunes around his first year in MLS, is seeing a similar phenomenon unfold for Rooney.
“He’s a huge impact for D.C.," the German said this week. "I think also it helped them a lot to play in a new stadium. They made some changes as well. They really play well, I like watching them a lot and hope it’s going to be a good game for us.”
While Rooney's arrival midseason has corresponded to an improvement in United's style of play and results, Schweinsteiger, who has spent much of the 2018 season playing in defense for Chicago, paid tribute to the English striker but also emphasized the many contributors to D.C.'s success.
“He’s a great player. For me, he understands the game really well and he’s always a threat for the opponent, and we have to keep an eye on him, definitely. But, also of course they have other players there that are also really good and can decide games,” he said.
Schweinsteiger also reminisced on playing against Rooney in Europe, as well as their time together at Manchester United from 2015-17.
“I remember once we played with Bayern at United and he made a dive in the last minute because I had a yellow card, and I got a yellow-red card," he said.
"So the first thing I did when I came to United, I thanked him again for that. Off the field we played golf with each other, that was always fun. We had a good time in Manchester.”