In a preseason friendly that Alex Ferguson could only describe as "strange," Manchester United pounded the hosting Seattle Sounders FC 7-0 in front of more than 67,000 Seattle fans. Encouragingly for United, three of those goals and one assist came from Wayne Rooney.
After posting the worst figures of his career with United in 2010-11, and being uncharacteristically cold through much of the first half of the season, Rooney is looking to enter the coming campaign red hot after being involved in four goals in one of the most passionate venues the United States has to offer.
Truthfully, the home side pulled most of their first team off the field by the time Rooney was subbed into the match in the second half. While he may have been facing a mostly reserve squad (and an MLS reserve squad, at that), the performance certainly cannot be discounted in front of an outspoken away crowd larger than any the Red Devils would face in the Premier League outside of Old Trafford.
Ferguson said following the match, "It was nice for Wayne to score three tonight," adding, "we are pleased for all the goalscorers but three goals is a nice start for him."
Surprisingly, when the home team fielded their first team in the first half of the match, Seattle outshot United 10-9 and only trailed by one goal. Until Rooney came on the pitch, that is.
"He has worked hard. He has done really well in training," Ferguson said of the second-half hat trick. "I'm pleased for him."
If the performance is any indication of what's to come for Rooney in the coming season, United fans can rest assured that Rooney will not be plagued with a lackluster period of disappointment from their star again. As last season came to end, Rooney's performance greatly improved, and it would certainly seem that the momentum has carried on through the offseason.
With Rooney once again playing top-class football for United, a repeat title run for the Red Devils seems almost inevitable.