Manchester United face MLS side LA Galaxy in their first pre-season match this summer. The winner of the match will lift the Chevrolet Cup, which could be Louis van Gaal’s first trophy with the Old Trafford club. Obviously the trophy means very little and is another way for sponsors to get involved in football matches. United have been working hard training twice a day since their pre-season schedule started with the Dutch manager ready to right the wrongs of last season. United’s pre-season tour of the Far East last summer was not all that great with the team failing to beat teams they should have beaten easily.
This summers pre-season is pretty competitive, compared to last summer, with LA Galaxy first up, a team that are currently coming to the end of their season, so they could be hard to beat should United be facing any fitness issues. Next up is their participation in the Guinness International Champions Cup where they will face AS Roma, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, all will be very competitive, especially the match against the UEFA Champions League holders Real Madrid as in the last week they have strengthened with the signing of both Toni Kroos, a World Champion with Germany and James Rodríguez, one of the best players in the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Louis van Gaal has taken a strong side to Los Angeles with new signings Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw likely to make their first appearances in a Manchester United shirt, which is something I am looking forward to. David De Gea, Rafael da Silva, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Darren Fletcher, Nani, Antonio Valencia, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck are the other experienced members of the side with Wilfried Zaha, Jesse Lingard, Reece James, Tyler Blackett, Michael and Will Keane also travelling with the squad, to gain experience, to name a few. Van Gaal is a promoter of youth football, this has been seen at the previous clubs he has managed, some of the world’s best footballers in their time had been given a chance by the Dutch manager, something that worked very well for him.
LA Galaxy are flying high in the MLS Western Conference in fourth place on 27 points, but with two matches in hand over second placed FC Dallas, who are two points ahead of them. Conference leaders Seattle Sounders are eleven points clear of the Galaxy, so they may not win the conference outright this season, but there is a way to go yet, so you never know. They are a strong side, even since David Beckham left the club in 2012. The likes on Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan, Juninho and Omar Gonzalez who makes his return after being sidelined with an ankle injury sustained in the FIFA World Cup round of 16 defeat to Belgium in Brazil. Robbie Keane will be the main threat for United’s defence and with the fact that Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra have all left the club this summer, the Republic of Ireland international could be looking to cause some problems. So far this season, Keane has scored 10 goals from 63 shots, of which 30 were on target. He has also assisted in six goals and is LA Galaxy’s top scorer so far this season.
LA Galaxy have conceded 16 goals in 17 matches so far this season. That may sound like a lot, but they have the best defensive record in the Western Conference and the best in the MLS combined this season. Goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, who has played 15 out 17 matches, coming against 61 shot, saving 45 and conceding 15 goals. In the 15 matches played, LA Galaxy have won six, lost four and drawn five that Penedo has player in, meaning with him in goal, they have won 40% of their matches. Penedo has a 74% success rate when saving shots, which is good for a goalkeeper. Brian Perk, second choice goalkeeper this season has played twice this season, faced three shots, saving two and conceding one goal, which really does not do him any justice compared to Penedo based on matches played.
LA Galaxy – Last Six Matches: LWWDWL
Sporting Kansas City 2-1 L, New England Revolution 5-1 W, Real Salt Lake 1-0 W, Portland Timbers 2-2 D, San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 W, Caroline RailHawks 1-0 L
Manchester United – Last Six Matches: DWLWLW
Southampton 1-1 D, Hull City 3-1 W, Sunderland 1-0 L, Norwich City 4-0 W, Everton 2-0 L, Newcastle United 4-0 W
LA Galaxy Squad:
Manager: Bruce Arena
Goalkeepers: 1. Brian Perk, 12. Brian Rowe, 18. Jaime Penedo;
Defenders: 2. Todd Dunnivant, 4. Omar Gonzalez, 20. A J DeLaGarza, 21. Tommy Meyer, 22. Leonardo, 26. James Riley, 28. Kofi Opare, 31. Kyle Venter, 33. Dan Gargan, 36. Oscar Sorto;
Midfielders: 6. Baggio Husidic, 8. Marcelo Sarvas, 14. Robbie Rogers, 19. Juninho, 24. Stefan Ishizaki, 25. Rafael Garcia, 34. Kenney Walker;
Forwards: 7. Robbie Keane, 10. Landon Donovan, 11. Gyasi Zardes, 15. Jake Trainor, 16. Rob Friend, 27. Charlie Rugg, 30. Chandler Hoffman, 32. Jack McBean, 38. Bradford Jamieson IV, 40. Raul Mendiola
Manchester United Squad:
Manager: Louis van Gaal
Goalkeepers: 1. David De Gea, 13. Anders Lindegaard, 40. Ben Amos, 50. Sam Johnstone;
Defenders: 2. Rafael da Silva, 4. Phil Jones, 6. Jonny Evans, 12. Chris Smalling, 38. Michael Keane, 42. Tyler Blackett, 0. Reece James, 0. Luke Shaw
Midfielders: 8. Juan Mata, 17. Nani, 18. Ashley Young, 23. Tom Cleverley, 24. Darren Fletcher, 25. Antonio Valencia, 26. Shinji Kagawa, 29. Wilfried Zaha, 35. Jesse Lingard, 0. Ander Herrera
Forwards: 10. Wayne Rooney, 14. Javier Hernandez, 19. Danny Welbeck, 48. Will Keane
Expected LA Galaxy Starting XI and Formation:
Expected Manchester United Starting XI and Formation:
LA Galaxy 2-3 Manchester United