Thursday, July 29, 2010

All-Stars v United highlights: Goals give fans' growing confidence about young guns...

Well, after losing somewhat controversially against Kansas City Wizards earlier this week United have bounced back in fine style when trouncing the MLS All-Stars by winning 5-2 in Houston last night. The result is a good one, because no one likes losing and no matter if this is just another meaningless pre-season friendly; players need confidence and looking ahead to the Premier League season this is exactly the level of performance we fans' expect from United.

Going into the All-Stars game, Ferguson had insisted this was by far the most difficult looking fixture of the summer tour, but as things turned out it was a rout.

United raced into a first-half two-nil lead thanks to the sharpness of Kiko Macheda. The Italian's first goal saw the young striker latching on to a poor All-Stars pass and following an incisive run at the heart of the All-stars defence, the United striker finished coolly from just inside the box.

Macheda's second goal came about from a Nani corner from the left and once again there was a lapse of concentration in the All-Stars rear guard as the Italian was left unmarked inside the penalty area; but, take nothing away from Macheda whose quick movement in the box enabled him to divert the ball into the corner of the rigging with a well headed effort.

United were not having it all their own way though and Edwin Van der Sar had to be at his best when making several good saves to deny the All-Stars. Former Aston Villa striker Juan Pablo Angel took the eye and caused United's defence problems throughout.

Obertan picked up an injury and was replaced by Cleverley on just 23 minutes; going into the game there was injury fears concerning Darren Fletcher, but the Scot started alongside John O'Shea in central midfield.

The second-half started brightly when the All-Stars nearly opened their account and only another fine stop from United's Dutch 'keeper denied Marshall's point blank header.

Rafael went close following a trademark run but his finish was disappointing. The MLS finally got the goal they'd deserved following another lapse in concentration, this time by Darren Fletcher who was beaten too easily when failing to track his man inside the box as Brian Ching headed home.

On 70 minutes Darron Gibson scored with an impressive 25-yard curling effort over the All-Stars defensive wall that gave Rimando no chance. United fans will be hoping to see a lot more of those from the Ulsterman should he be given the opportunity this season.

Just a few minutes later, Tom Cleverley scored undoubtedly the goal of the game with a brilliant piece of skill from just inside the All-Stars penalty area; the move started when Darron Gibson collected the ball just outside the All-Stars box then he passed it to Fletcher who in turn played it over the top first time - what followed was reminiscent of Paul Gascoigne at his very best - Cleverley controlled the ball with his first touch and at the same time he turned away from a defender and with his second touch he coolly slotted it over Rimando's legs into the corner - it was simply quite brilliant.

United's new Mexican striker Chicharito wasn't to be out done and he got his name on the score-sheet on his debut when making it 5-1 with a well taken effort that looked suspiciously offside.

Dwayne De Rosario scored a late consolation goal to make it 5-2 on what was a very entertaining night. While the goals were great, Ferguson will be concerned about some of United's defending which will have to improve greatly based on what we've seen on this tour. On the positive side, the manager will be absolutely delighted with the performance of his young players against the All-Stars.

Match Facts:

Attendance:70728 - A record for a "soccer" fixture.

Venue: Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas.

United: Van der Sar; Rafael, Brown, J.Evans, Fabio (Scholes 72); Obertan (Cleverley 23), Fletcher, O'Shea, Giggs (Gibson 52), Nani (Chicharito 62); Macheda (Welbeck 62). Subs not used: Amos, Kuszczak, Berbatov, De Laet, Diouf, C.Evans, Smalling. Booked: J.Evans

MLS All-Stars (4-1-4-1): Ricketts (Rimando, ht); Alston (De Rosario, ht), Olave (Gonzalez, ht), Marshall (Conde, 63), Pearce (Donovan, 74); Joseph (Davis, 74); Le Toux (Convey, ht), Morales (Moreno, 63), Schelotto (Ferreira, ht), Pappa (Larentowicz, ht); Angel (Ching, ht).


  1. Hi James,

    I had the game on DVR and watched Chicharito's goal in super slo-mo. The right back was slow in stepping forward so Chicharito was still onside. I initially thought he wasn't but there was a little breathing room.

    The question is now whether Cleverly and Welbeck, who have both had productive matches during the tour, will not be loaned out and given more chances with the 1st team. My understanding of the 25 player rule is that UK-based players under 21 don't even count so United could technically have more players than 25.

  2. Evgenni,

    Whatever we think about the Chicharito goal it counted and that is all that matters my friend..

    Regarding your question about Cleverly and Welbeck - I don't know the answer to that one, but more on that shortly...

    For what it's worth, I'd like to see more of Cleverly before making any sort of useful judgement on his chances of becoming a first-team regular at Old Trafford, but the way he took his goal gives me hope. My reservation relates to his size, because I fear he might be over powered in the PL. With that said, we've seen players such as Modric thriving and he has a very slight build. We have also been shown how to play the game by Barca's small players in midfield - but as I say, right now and until I see a lot more of Cleverly I will reserve judgement on him. Regarding the loan situation, it all depends if Ferguson genuinely believes Cleverly has a real chance of course then there's the players in front of him in the pecking order. My gut feeling is it will be very difficult for Cleverly to make any real impact this season in the PL - more likely he will get his chances in the domestic cup competitions and the same can be said of Welbeck.

    IF you look at our poll results, you see that not that many expect Welbeck to make it this season, there's a lot more votes for Macheda - I too go along the voting trend on this one....

    And finally, in relation to the new rules, here again I'm not 100% sure.. But I think the 25 man squad can be suplemented with 21 year olds but I'm not sure if that can only happen when the windows are open. I have been trying to find out but even the official PL site is not clear on this point.,,12306~2094341,00.html


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