Marcus Rashford scored twice as Manchester United powered past LA Galaxy 5-2 in the opening match of their tour of the United States.
Rashford struck twice in the first half to eclipse the debut of £72 million striker Romelu Lukaku, who failed to score in his first game for United, but impressed with his overall play. United’s first half lead was extended as midfielder Marouane Fellaini drove a shot home from a clever cut back from Jesse Lingard.
Jose Mourinho then fielded a totally different XI for the second half, but the momentum was not lost as Henrikh Mikhitaryan scored a fourth and then Anthony Martial made it 5-0, before the Galaxy hit two goals late on to give the final scoreline a semblance of respectability.
Apart from obvious signs of close season rustiness, the United machine steamrollered a poor Galaxy team currently lying eighth in the MLS Western table and way off the pace set by current leaders Sporting KC (Kansas City). The one surprising tactical ploy used by Mourinho that will be of interest to both United fans and their English Premier League opponents was the use of three central defenders in each half of the game, with Jones, Smalling and Blind utilised in the first half, being replaced by new signing Victor Lindelof at half time, along with Eric Bailly and United youngster Axel Tunazebe in a rarely seen 3-5-1-1 formation. Mourinho later claimed this would not be his regular formation going forward, but it ‘maybe used in certain circumstances’ for the forthcoming season.
Anthony Martial’s play and goal certainly caught the eye, and he showed no apparent effect of the strong claims that he is being used as bait to lure Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic away from the San Siro. His goal was taken splendidly and he looked sharp and menacing in his 45 minutes on the pitch.
United will want, and will get, tougher opponents as their tour progresses. Up next on July 17th are Real Salt Lake, although they sit just behind the LA Galaxy currently. After that though loom the likes of their Manchester neighbours, before they face Barcelona and Real Madrid, amongst other teams. Their show in front of just over 25,000 fans was certainly a very encouraging start for Mourinho and his new look team.
MANCHESTER UNITED U.S. TOUR SCHEDULE
July 15: LA Galaxy 2 v 5 United, StubHub Center, Los Angeles (25,667)
July 17: Real Salt Lake v United, Rio Tinto Stadium, Salt Lake City
July 20: United v Manchester City, NRG Stadium, Houston
July 23: United v Real Madrid, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara
July 26: United v FC Barcelona, FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland