The US men’s national team close out their Fall Kickoff Series with a pair of games against perennial European powerhouses, beginning with a showdown against England at Wembley Stadium on Thursday.
The match will be a testimonial for D.C. United’s Wayne Rooney, England’s all-time leading scorer with 53 goals in 119 appearances. It will be Rooney’s first time in an England shirt since picking up an assist in a 3-0 win over Scotland at Wembley on Nov. 11, 2016.
Rooney, who was named to the 2018 MLS Best XI, had 12 goals and seven assists in 20 appearances, helping guide the Black-and-Red to the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs.
“It’s been what I would think it would be like with a guy like Wayne Rooney,” Dave Sarachan said of Rooney. “He didn’t come over for vacation. He came over to win. He was in good form, stayed healthy and had a terrific impact on his team, but also on our league and a great representative of a player that could have mailed it in and didn’t.”
It is also likely one of Sarachan’s final matches as interim USMNT manager with rumors rampant that Gregg Berhalter of Columbus Crew SC is set to be named the coach soon.
“I’m very excited to finish off the Kickoff Series with very important games, high profile games with England and Italy,” Sarachan said. “It will be a great challenge for our young group, but a great way to finish off this calendar year.”
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The Three Lions are coming off an emotional 3-2 win over Spain last month in Seville in UEFA Nations League A, avenging a 2-1 loss at Wembley a month earlier. Raheem Sterling struck for a first-half brace and Marcus Rashford scored in the 30th minute to give England a 3-0 lead at the break.
England returns to Nations League A play Sunday with a showdown against Croatia at Wembley, a rematch of a World Cup semifinal won by Croatia in extra time.
Gareth Southgate called in a strong squad for the friendly, led by Harry Kane, Sterling, Dele Ali, Rashford and, of course, Rooney, who said his testimonial has been in the works for the better part of a year.
“We both felt it was the right time to do it [now], my season in the States is over, and it’s against the USA and it’s a friendly match before the lads play against Croatia on Sunday," Rooney said of Southgate. "We all felt it was the right time and the right game.”
United States Outlook
Sarachan initially called in a roster of 28 players with the average age of 23 years, 241 days, but Atlanta United midfielder Darlington Nagbe and Columbus Crew SC defender Zack Steffen were forced to withdraw due to injury.
Replacing Steffen on a squad reduced to 27 players ahead of Thursday’s match is Hertha Berlin goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann. The son of former USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Jonathan competed for the US at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup and has earned his first call-up for the senior national team.
After missing matches against Colombia and Peru last month, midfielders Tyler Adams of the New York Red Bulls and Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic return for the year-end friendlies. It is Pulisic’s first USMNT camp since playing in a 3-0 win over Bolivia in May.
“We’re excited to be here, great test for our young group,” Sarachan said. “Obviously we’re facing a team in England I feel is in good form and has a lot of quality.”
This will be the 11th meeting against England, which owns a 7-2-1 all-time record. The most recent showdown was at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, with Clint Dempsey leveling after Steven Gerrard put England up early.
The last USMNT win came 43 years after a stunning upset in the 1950 World Cup in Brazil when Thomas Dooley and Alexi Lalas scored in a 2-0 U.S. Cup ’93 victory in Foxborough, Mass.
Players to Watch
England — Wayne Rooney: All eyes will be on Rooney in his last-ever appearance for the Three Lions. Will Kane give him the captain’s armband? Will he score his 54th career international goal? How long will he play?
United States — Christian Pulisic: Pulisic missed the USMNT’s last six games due to injuries, a summer break and club demands and this will be the last time this calendar year the 20-year-old will get to play for the U.S. It will be exciting to see him join fellow young standouts Adams, Timothy Weah and Weston McKennie.
|GK||Jake Butland||Stoke City||9/0|
|D||Ben Chilwell||Leicester City||3/0|
|D||Luke Shaw||Manchester United||8/0|
|D||John Stones||Manchester City||36/2|
|D||Kieran Trippier||Tottenham Hotspur||16/1|
|D||Kyle Walker||Manchester City||43/0|
|M||Dele Ali||Tottenham Hotspur||31/3|
|M||Fabian Delph||Manchester City||16/0|
|M||Eric Dier||Tottenham Hotspur||36/3|
|M||Jesse Lingard||Manchester United||20/2|
|M||Harry Winks||Tottenham Hotspur||2/0|
|F||Harry Kane||Tottenham Hotspur||34/19|
|F||Marcus Rashford||Manchester United||29/6|
|F||Wayne Rooney||D.C. United||119/53|
|F||Jadon Sancho||Borussia Dortmund||1/0|
|F||Raheem Sterling||Manchester City||46/4|
United States Roster
|GK||Brad Guzan||Atlanta United||59/0|
|GK||Ethan Horvath||Club Brugge||2/0|
|GK||Jonathan Klinsmann||Hertha Berlin||0/0|
|D||John Brooks||VfL Wolfsburg||35/3|
|D||Reggie Cannon||FC Dallas||1/0|
|D||Cameron Carter-Vickers||Swansea City||6/0|
|D||Aaron Long||New York Red Bulls||1/0|
|D||Antonee Robinson||Wigan Athletic||6/0|
|D||Jorge Villafana||Portland Timbers||19/0|
|D||DeAndre Yedlin||Newcastle United||56/0|
|M||Kellyn Acosta||Colorado Rapids||21/2|
|M||Tyler Adams||New York Red Bulls||7/1|
|M||Luca de la Torre||Fulham||1/0|
|M||Marky Delgado||Toronto FC||5/0|
|M||Romain Gall||Malmo FF||0/0|
|M||Julian Green||Greuther Furth||14/4|
|M||Sebastian Lletget||LA Galaxy||3/1|
|M||Christian Pulisic||Borussia Dortmund||21/9|
|M||Wil Trapp||Columbus Crew SC||9/0|
|M||Tim Weah||Paris Saint-Germain||7/1|
|F||Josh Sargent||Werder Bremen||5/2|
|F||Bobby Wood||Hannover 96||43/13|