Manchester United dominate Los Angeles Galaxy, 7-0

July 24, 2014

Pasadena, Calif. -- Manchester United arrived at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena in front of 86,432 adoring fans for their first game following their worst English Premiership League (EPL) campaign in recent memory -- a seventh-place finish.

However, a 7-0 win versus Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday night turned out to be just the positive step the team needed towards erasing the memory of last season.

In the first matchup ever between these two sides, United produced goals from Danny Welbeck (13th minute), and two from Wayne Rooney at the end of the first half (42nd and 45th), along with a pair from Reece Jones (62th and 84th) and Ashley Young (88th and 90th).

The result provides cautious optimism about the upcoming season, which will not include a European competition.

Focusing on domestic play, Manchester United has a tough battle on its hands with defending champion Manchester City, Chelsea, and Arsenal all getting stronger this offseason.  In particular, Chelsea has markedly improved with Thibaut Cortious, Diego Costa, and Filipe Luis from Athletico Madrid, along with Cesc Fabregas, formerly of Barcelona, all on the squad.

However, with the arrival of highly experienced and accomplished coach Louis Van Gaal, there is a certain level of optimism that United would not miss out on another Champions League competition next season. Van Gaal, who took Holland to third place in the 2014 World Cup, is eager to put his own stamp on a team that still needs to figure out many things before the start of the season.

"Their style is obviously different," observed Galaxy coach Bruce Arena.  "They’re playing a style that their manager is very comfortable and familiar with in his career. They’re playing a back 3 and some version of a 3-5-2 or a 3-4-3, and that’s a big change for a Manchester United club that’s traditionally played 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 at times. So it’s a different style, but it looks tactically a lot like what we saw out of the Dutch team in the World Cup."

In this game, Manchester United featured two transfer additions, midfielder Ander Herrera (Athletic Bilbao) and wingback Luke Shaw (Southampton), along with new faces on the defensive side.

With the departure of Rio Ferdinand (Queens Park Rangers), Nemanja Vidic (Inter Milan), and Patrick Evra (Juventus), United has to rebuild its backline. More than ever, it has to rely on goalkeeper David De Gea to lead.

While the defense was rarely tested in Wednesday's game, it seems that Van Gaal was quite satisfied with the lineup of Shaw, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, and Jonny Evans.

United is still hoping to bring in German central defender Mats Hummels, one of the best in the recent World Cup, to shore up the middle of the defense. In addition, Van Gaal would probably like to see a little more attacking from Luke Shaw, who stayed in the back for the most part in the game.

The midfield could also use a bit more spark and United received that Wednesday from Ander Herrera. Herrera, who played both halves, was arguably the Man of the Match. He played a little bit behind playmaker Juan Mata in the first half, and near the striker in the second half.

“I thought he was fantastic," said Galaxy star Robbie Keane of Herrera.  "I thought he was the best player on the pitch by far.”

In the first half, Mata did well winning balls with timely challenges and exhibiting a willingness to defend. In the second half, he showed the other part of his game by being involved in all four goals, linking well with Ashley Young, as well as supplying plenty of opportunities to Reece Jones and Shinji Kagawa in the attacking third.

It will be interesting to see how Van Gaal will utilize him with the primary attacking trio of Robin Van Persie, Welbeck, and Rooney. Van Persie is still on leave for at least three weeks, dating back to Holland's last World Cup match.

It will be imperative for Manchester United to solve their attacking problems, which saw their goal tally drop by 22 compared to the previous 2012-13 season (86 goals to 64 last year).  But with the addition of Juan Mata from Chelsea there will likely be improvement, as the Spanish midfielder is seems to be working hard to try to gel with the attackers.

Mata enjoyed the team's performance, but seemed more impressed by the turnout at the Rose Bowl, stating, "It was unbelievable, unbelievable. I don’t know how many people, like 80,000 or 90,000. It was crazy, we are so grateful."

Perhaps the only thing that left the crowd disappointed was not seeing local favorite Javier Hernandez on the pitch.

“He arrived yesterday evening so he didn’t train," said Van Gaal of Hernandez.  "If you are not training, you will never be in the lineup. He was on holiday after the World Cup. Everybody at Manchester United has had three weeks but he was in the round of 16 against us [Holland]. You have to count 21 days and then he will join the team. I gave him permission to come directly from Mexico. He has to train, then he can play. He has to train for a week, then he can participate."

Mata and company will have plenty of chances to continue their good work this summer, as United's 2014 tour of the U.S. has future stops in the next seven days in Denver, Washington D.C., and Ann Arbor against tough opponents AS Roma, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid, respectively.

The Galaxy return to MLS action Monday, July 28, against the Western Conference-leading Seattle Sounders.

By Christian Siagian
Contributing Writer for

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