sports 3 days ago

Manchester United opens preseason and U.S. Tour with victory over the Galaxy

The Orange County Register — Damian Calhoun The Orange County Register

July 16--CARSON -- The love and admiration for Manchester United ran throughout StubHub Center Saturday.

The majority of the 25,667 in attendance came dressed in the shirt of their favorite Manchester United player, both past and present and erupted in cheers at every run and move by players like Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata.

The current collection of players, showed their class and skill throughout the night, resulting in 5-2 victory over the Galaxy in an international friendly.

"It was good, no injuries," Manchester United's Jose Mourinho said. "Everybody played 45 minutes. The most important thing for me was to compete. Second most important was for players to play in a system we've only played in twice last season.

"We decided to play more matches with three in the back. We moved the ball well, we had some attacking positions."

The second-half effort was much better for the Galaxy, with the lineup resembling as close to a regular starting 11 as Coach Curt Onalfo can send out.

Goalkeeper Brian Rowe, defenders Dave Romney, Jelle Van Damme, Ashley Cole, midfielders Joao Pedro, Emmanuel Boateng and Giovani dos Santos and forward Jack McBean entered the game to start the second half.

Romain Alessandrini and Jermaine Jones both came on later in the half as subs. Jones was making his first appearance since May 6 after suffering a knee injury.

Giovani dos Santos scored the first goal for the Galaxy, combining with Alessandrini, leading to dos Santos getting a shot by Manchester United goalkeeper Joel Pereira.

In the 89th minute, Dave Romney scored a header off of a corner kick for the Galaxy's second goal.

It didn't take long for the "Red Devils" to exert their dominance at the start of the game and the first minutes of their U.S. Tour.

Jesse Lingard dispossessed Galaxy defender Nathan Smith, sending the ball over to Marcus Rashford, who beat goalkeeper Jon Kempin.

Rashford again struck in the 20th minute. Ander Herrera started the process stealing the ball from Raul Mendiola. Herrera then slid a perfect through ball to Juan Mata, who set up Rashford and the 2-0 lead.

"It's just natural evolution of a kid," Mourinho said of Rashford. "A compilation of minutes on a pitch ...Already taller than when I arrived 13 months ago, he also put on some muscle. His speed the most important quality he has."

Marouane Felliani scored the third goal of the half in the 26th minute.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (67th) and Anthony Martial (72nd) had two second-half goals for Manchester United, which led 5-0 after Martial's goal.

The starting lineup for the Galaxy consisted of mostly reserves, with the exception of Daniel Steres, who was making his first appearance since May after suffering a hamstring injury.

"I thought it was a real positive experience," Onalfo said. "We started a young group against a world-class team. We played a stronger group in the second half. ... A real positive experience to get us ready for a real dog fight in the second half of the season.

Manchester United's new high-price signing, Lukaku, was one of several second-half subs.

Manchester United continues the tour of the U.S. with a stop in Utah on Monday against Real Salt Lake in another friendly. Then comes a three-game run in the International Champions Cup, with games against rival Manchester City (July 20) in Houston, Real Madrid (July 23) in Santa Clara and FC Barcelona, July 26 in Maryland.

Mourinho's men will begin Premier League play on Aug. 13 against West Ham United. They finished in sixth place last year, but by winning the Europa League, qualified for UEFA Champions League play for this season.

The Galaxy returns to MLS play, Wednesday at home against Vancouver.

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