Manchester United kicked off their pre-season campaign with a 1-0 win over Club America last night in Seattle. The game was played at Centurylink Field, the home of MLS side Seattle Sounders in front of a crowd of 46,857.
Manchester United used 22 players in the game as manager played two completely different elevens in each half. The first-half eleven included new signings Matteo Darmian, Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay. All impressed with their first displays in the red of United.
Schneiderlin gave United the lead after just 5 minutes as he met a Juan Mata cross at the far post. United started well and were on the attack from the kick-off. The goal came following a corner from Ashley Young that was initially cleared by the Club America defence. The clearance though only found its way to Mata, who played a deep cross to the far post. Which was met by Schneiderlin whose looping header found its way into the opposite corner of the Mexicans goal.
Aside from his goal, Schneiderlin impressed in the United midfield alongside Michael Carrick. Schneiderlin pretty much controlled the midfield in the first half, playing the ball around with ease, whilst also getting stuck into his opponents showing he is not afraid of the physical side of the game. Schneiderlin was awarded man of the match in the stadium at the end of the game and it’s difficult to argue with that.
United’s new Italian right-back also put in an impressive performance in the first 45 minutes. He did everything that was asked of him in defensive areas, tracking the runs of any of the Club American players that tried attacking down his side. He also got forward well in support of the United attack and link up well with Mata and Rooney on several occasions.
The last of the debutants in the first half was Dutch winger Memphis Depay, who in this game was asked to play alongside Rooney up front. I feel he struggled to get into the game in the first half an hour or so. But he then started to drop a little deeper and got himself into the game, showing his strength on ball and playing several decent through balls that just failed to reach their target.
The goalkeeper position could be a problem for United this season, with the uncertainty over David De Gea’s future and he missed this game with a slight injury according to Van Gaal. The first-half saw young goalkeeper Sam Johnstone getting his chance, having spent last season on loan at Preston North End, he will be looking to force his way into the managers thoughts. He did everything that was asked of him well in this game, on several occasions playing as a sweeper, coming off his line to collect or clear the ball.
The second-half saw a United eleven that included several youngsters alongside United’s other signing of the summer Bastian Schweinsteiger, the German captain becoming the first German to represent the United first-team. Schweinsteiger played in the centre of midfield alongside Herrera, with Schweinsteiger playing slightly more advanced than Herrera. He strolled through the game, always playing the right ball and never looked rushed even when the opposition tried to close him down.
The likes of Pereira, Wilson, Januzaj and Lingard, who all played in the second-half, can only learn from playing and training with a player of the calibre of Schweinsteiger. After all this a player that has won everything in the game, at club and international level.
First-half XI: Johnstone, Darmian, Jones, Blind, Shaw, Mata, Carrick, Schneiderlin, Young, Memphis, Rooney
Second-half XI: Lindegaard, McNair, Smalling, Evans, Blackett, Lingard, Herrera, Schweinsteiger, Pereira, Januzaj, Wilson
Man Of The Match: Morgan Schneiderlin