It was only a friendly, but Wayne Rooney looks to have forgotten about his underwhelming World Cup performance.
Although the Manchester United star played just the first half against MLS outfit L.A. Galaxy Wednesday night, he looked in good form and netted a pair of goals just before the break.
The first came in the 42nd minute. After a handball in the box was called on A.J. DeLaGarza, Rooney stepped to the spot and slotted it perfectly into the side of the net.
World Soccer Talk provided a look at the goal:
Manchester United's official Twitter feed captured a cool photo of the moment:
No matter the setting, that's a clinical finish. Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo guessed right, but he still had no chance.
Rooney completed his brace just moments later, thanks to some atrocious defending from the Galaxy. A cross into the box slipped through the legs of defender Tommy Meyer right to Rooney, who had his initial shot saved but proceeded to literally walk right over Penedo for the goal.
Here's a look at the somewhat comical goal, courtesy of CJ Fogler:
Wayne Rooney scores a walkover goal on Galaxy keeper after Tommy Meyer nutmegs himself https://t.co/lKtUsgxQe1— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) July 24, 2014
That made it 3-0, and Rooney's day was done when manager Louis van Gaal made nine changes at the half.
It's difficult to get overly excited about a penalty and a goal off a defensive miscue against an MLS team, but there are some takeaways.
Rooney's debut playing for Van Gaal was a success. Despite the opponent, that's important. It seems the two are developing a solid rapport, as Football Vines displayed during pre-match training:
And they said Wayne Rooney and Louis van Gaal wouldn't get along. http://t.co/DWcUpbw4G0— Football Vines (@FootballVines) July 23, 2014
Second, it's a boost in confidence. Rooney scored once in the World Cup, but it was mostly a forgettable experience for him and his teammates in Brazil, as England came away with just one point in three matches.
Finding the back of the net twice in a matter of minutes can do wonders for an individual's morale.
Last, and this may be most important: Rooney, playing up front next to Danny Welbeck instead of in the No. 10 role, seemed to be linking extremely well with Juan Mata and new transfer Ander Herrera, which is an encouraging sign moving forward.
The Manchester Evening News and Bleacher Report's Rob Dawson put it simply:
Herrera moving beautifully. Bouncing the ball around with Mata and Rooney. Been really tidy with his passing.— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonMEN) July 24, 2014
It's important not to read too much into this performance, but at the very least, it's a positive sign for Rooney and the rest of the squad.
And for a Manchester United side that struggled immensely during the 2013-14 campaign, any positive signs to kick off the Van Gaal era are welcomed.