Our MUFC Tour 2017 in the United States of America is well under way after two games and two wins in California and Utah. Up next an overseas Manchester derby in Houston, Texas with both teams wearing shirts with the Manchester worker bee on the front.
Our first game of the tour was at the weekend after a week of training out in Los Angeles. The match itself was at the Stubhub Centre against LA Galaxy who we played and beat 7-0 three years ago in our opening tour game too. Galaxy are in the middle of their season and this was our first game for a while so it was all about getting fitness and about getting into habits ahead of our new season. In fact it was Galaxy’s ninth game in about 30 days so they weren’t going to be at their strongest as they played quite a few reserves players.
The United 3-5-2 starting team was De Gea, Jones, Smalling, Blind, Valencia, Lingard, Herrera, Carrick, Fellaini, Mata and Rashford with eleven changes taking place at half-time. It didn’t take us long to get going either as just 2 minutes in and Rashers scored with his first touch. Lingard had close down their right back quickly and got his foot in, it ran to Rashford and he finished clinically.
Rashford then made it 2-0 inside 20 minutes after Herrera broke up play this time on the edge of their area, Mata turned and slid it into Rashford who once again scored with a first time shot with his right foot. Fellaini then made it three after some good work again from Lingard in his new left-wing back position. Rashford should have got his hat-trick just before half time but this time he seemed to have too much time and missed a one on one with their keeper.
The whole team was substituted at half-time but keep the same formation: J Pereira, Bailly, Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Fosu-Mensah, Mkhitaryan, A Pereira, Pogba, Darmian, Martial, Lukaku. More chances came with Martial smashing a super strike just over, moment later Martial swept forward from midfield and Mkhitaryan who scored with a pass into back of net. Martial then did get on the score sheet as he made it 5-0 after great cut back from Fosu-Mensah. LA did get back late on with some sloppy United defending. Overall an easy 45 minutes for most of the lads.
United played Real Salt Lake in the Rio Tinto stadium in Utah in red-hot and humid conditions, which obviously had something to do with them playing at altitude.
Before kick off it was announced that roughly 50 players were due to play, with three different SL teams every thirty minutes due to their busy schedule. United again would be playing two different teams like they did in the first game in a 4-3-2-1 formation this time with Scott McTominay getting his first start of the tour.
New United black kit was on show too as SL looked good and broke very quickly from the off as they were very fast up top with some quick forwards. Couple of saves from Joel Pereira early on but then Silva finally got free and scored after 23 mins to probably give them deserved lead. We hit straight back, Lukaku flicked it to Lingard and he put it into Mkhitaryan who stuck it hard, quick and low with his left foot.
Then Lukaku opened his account. Lingard once again into Mkhitaryan down the left and this time he whipped the ball across to Lukaku. He controlled it, went around keeper and a defender before passing it into the goal passed another defender trying to get back.
Then a most bizarre situation as we got a red card. It wasn’t a good challenge from Valencia but it was nothing too nasty as he never went to ground but did come in from behind hard. The pace then seemed to go out of game and nothing really happened until they a superb chance and they should have scored. However, they blasted wide passed a group of United defenders and Romero in goal. Chris Smalling then could have scored late on but he couldn’t keep his header down after a smashing ball in A Pereira.
Another win then, more importantly time playing as a team and squad. Up next, Manchester City!