Wayne Rooney is expected to be on the bench when Manchester United face Swansea in David Moyes’ first Premier League game as Red Devils manager. Press Association Given Rooney exceeded all England boss Roy Hodgson’s expectations during the week, it cannot entirely be discounted that Rooney will start at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday. However, with Danny Welbeck in goalscoring form for England in midweek and Robin van Persie netting twice in Sunday’s Community Shield, Moyes does have alternatives in attack. And that is likely to mean Rooney is among the substitutes, having not started in the Premier League since the draw at Arsenal on April 28. Rooney has played in both United’s previous visits to the Liberty Stadium, which have yielded a win and a draw. But while Moyes has a better record there, given Everton won comfortably on both their visits without conceding a goal, the Scot is wary of the Swans. After all, he has already “had a moan” to the Premier League about United’s tough start, according to chief executive Richard Scudamore, and Swansea benefit from two Europa League workouts against Malmo. “It’s a very tough away fixture,” Moyes told MUTV. “Michael Laudrup has done a really good job there and strengthened the team a lot this summer. “I would expect Swansea to have another season as good as last year and they’ve already had a couple of European games as well which gives them the feeling they are a little more match-ready. “But we feel we’re getting ready as well. The only real injury we’ve had is to (full-back) Rafael, who looks like he will be out for four to six weeks with a hamstring.” After coming through his 65-minute appearance for England in midweek, Rooney has not been affected by the hamstring and shoulder problems that prevented him from playing any part in United’s pre-season. It was automatic, therefore, that Moyes would have Rooney on the plane to south Wales on Friday afternoon.
The Trojans will attempt to bounce back Saturday when they face Cal on the road at 5 p.m. Much like the Trojans’ first meeting against Stanford, in which he posted 23 points and 10 rebounds, Rakocevic was an interior problem the Cardinals couldn’t seem to solve, as the forward finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds Wednesday. With just two games separating the second and ninth seed in Pac-12 standings, each game is a must-win for USC if they have any hope of securing a first round bye in the Pac-12 tournament — a privilege granted to the conference’s top-four seeds. “He [Boatwright] had a good look and just missed it,” Enfield said. “That didn’t decide the game.” Senior forward Bennie Boatwright and junior guard Jonah Mathews tried to slow the Cardinal momentum, drilling back-to-back corner threes, but the hot shooting didn’t transfer over to the remainder of the game. Junior forward Nick Rakocevic, the Pac-12 leader in double-doubles and two-time Conference Player of the Week, came off the bench for just the second time all season. It didn’t seem to affect the big man’s game, however, as he made his first three shots upon entering the contest. “The biggest takeaway is our upperclassmen,” head coach Andy Enfield said. “We have to finish games and they have to do a better job.” The first half effort from Porter was the most aggressive assertion of his talent all season. At one point, as the Trojans found themselves on the wrong end of a 15-4 run, the freshman beat his man off the dribble and powered a dunk through the rim and into the third row. A lackluster start to the second half filled with lazy passes and matador defense from the Trojans led to Stanford cutting their deficit to just 2 points five minutes after halftime. This was an even game in virtually every statistical category. No team dominated the glass or forced a lopsided number of turnovers, and both sides had to know this bitterly contested conference matchup would go down to the wire. In these types of games, the team that executes best in the final minutes will emerge victorious, and on Wednesday night, that team was Stanford. Ultimately, the sloppy play on offense, along with a lethargic effort on defense, led to USC trailing for the first time since a layup from Stanford sophomore forward Oscar da Silva placed the Trojans down 2-0 at the start of the game. Foul trouble for two of USC head coach Andy Enfield’s best playmakers, Boatwright and Porter, left the Trojans with no clear weapon to stop the bleeding on the offensive end. After suffering back-to-back home losses, sloppy offensive play and a lackadaisical defensive effort in the second half at Stanford, the Trojans dropped their third straight game Wednesday. Although they led for much of the contest, the Trojans suffered from poor execution late in the game, resulting in a 79-76 loss to Stanford. Stanford’s 7-foot senior center Josh Sharma struck USC through the heart with each rim-rattling dunk he delivered. The Trojans’ failure to box Sharman out evidenced a lack of effort and resulted in Sharma finishing the game with 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting. USC shot well from outside, making 7-of-12 from beyond the arc. This clip stood in stark contrast to Stanford’s 31.6 percent mark from downtown. The Cardinal responded with a well-rounded offensive effort; five players scored in double-digits, led by sophomore forward KZ Okpala’s 18 points. Okpala was a menace on both ends, contributing four steals in addition to his offensive work. Boatwright led the Trojans with 19 points, followed closely by Mathews’ 16 points. Porter struggled to gain any traction in the second half, going scoreless and finishing the game with a 4-of-12 shooting performance. After being tied at 64 points with just under six minutes to go in the second half, the Trojans operated their best half-court offense of the game, but each USC layup or set of free throws was met with a Stanford 3-pointer, keeping the Cardinal in the game. Furthermore, A lazy pass from Rakocevic to Boatwright resulted in a turnover that gave Stanford the opportunity to win the game. Freshman guard Kevin Porter had by far his best performance since his return from suspension, displaying several of the qualities that cause many to tout him as a potential first-round draft pick. A combination of strong finishes, shifty dribbling and decisive dimes pushed the freshman to 10 points in the first half. Junior guard Jonah Mathews came through against Stanford, scoring 16 points and making 3-of-4 from three. (Ling Luo/Daily Trojan) On the next possession, Stanford freshman point guard Bryce Wills blew past his man and finished through three Trojans to push the Cardinal to a 77-76 lead. Boatwright’s heroics fell short, as his go-ahead jumper attempt hit the front of the rim and signaled the end of the game.