It turns out that the 2019 MLS regular season may not have included Wayne Rooney’s final game at Audi Field after all.
D.C. United are close to finalizing an agreement for an October 2020 friendly at home against Derby County, giving Rooney the chance to face his old club stateside, according to Steven Goff of The Washington Post. No official date has been determined for the match.
Rooney joined Derby County earlier this winter after spending a year-and-a-half with the Black-and-Red as a Designated Player. During 48 games at D.C. United, the former England national team captain registered 23 goals and 15 assists, memorably sparking a summertime, playoff-bound turnaround upon arriving in 2018. Rooney's departure was rooted in a desire to be closer to family, with the agreement including his role as a club ambassador for D.C.
The friendly’s timing could be peculiar for both clubs, since D.C. would either be wrapping up their regular season or preparing for the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, while Derby would be two months into their 2020-21 season. D.C. made the playoffs last year as the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference, while Derby are currently 13th in the Championship standings and fighting for a promotion playoff spot.
The game could also see Derby midfielder Duane Holmes return to Audi Field. The fringe US men’s national teamer earned his first cap at the soccer-specific stadium during a pre-Concacaf Gold Cup friendly last summer against Jamaica.