Preview: Manchester United to take advantage of MLS strugglers?

Real Salt Lake -v- Manchester United

Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah, United States of America

Monday 17th July 2017; KO 20:00 local time – 03:00 in the United Kingdom

Live on MUTV in the United Kingdom

Manchester United take on MLS side Real Salt Lake at the Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah in their second pre-season match of the tour of the United States of America. United have been in America for over a week now, playing one match on Saturday evening in Carson, California against LA Galaxy in which they ripped the fallen MLS side apart in a 5-2 victory. Jose Mourinho changed his team at half time and in the first half a brace from Marcus Rashford and a goal from Marouane Fellaini put United 3-0 up. Mourinho’s side looked lively in attack, getting forward a lot of the time, also playing in a 3-5-2 formation which was seen a few times towards the end of last season. In the second half of the match, United did not take their foot off the accelerator as they tried to score more goals. Summer signings Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku both made their debuts for the club, both getting chances on goal, both missing. It was Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan who scored the other two goals, putting United 5-0 up before LA Galaxy scored twice through Giovani Dos Santos.

United have one down of the pre-season matches the be played in the States, four more remaining; Real Salt Lake, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona. During the LA Galaxy match, Mourinho names two XI’s for either half, also giving Demetri Mitchell about five minutes at the end of the match. The Portuguese manager is expected to do the same again, maybe different sides which could see Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku together during the same half, which would be good to see based on how fired up Rashford is to score goals and how eager Lukaku will be to score his first goal for the club. Perhaps the manager will try out the 3-5-2 formation again, or try something different, who knows. The fact that Anthony Martial looked better in a central forward role, rather than a wing position would suggest that is a reason Mourinho is after Ivan Perisic, who could be well on his way to the club in the near future, based on the rumours anyway, which will see United playing a more attacking brand of football, which would be a good thing. Mourinho spoke about his players playing 45 minutes, saying:

“Players will be playing in different positions and thinking football in a different way, and being organised in a different way. We are also going to play with four at the back. We will work with the same principle – 45 and 45 minutes and, if there is a chance to give five or 10 minutes to another kid, it’s always good for them.”

Have Manchester United and Real Salt Lake faced each other before?

United have never faced Real Salt Lake before and the club have only been around for the last 13 years. This will not be the first big club they have played though, facing Real Madrid, Everton and Inter Milan in recent years, but now they have the richest football club in the world at the Rio Tinto Stadium, so that could be the biggest occasion for them so far in the club’s history. The club currently sits in ninth place in the MLS Western Conference, a place below LA Galaxy, two points behind them and two from the bottom of the table, which is not a good place for them to be in. Real Salt Lake does have an Englishman on their side; Luke Mulholland a midfielder born in Preston, not all that far from United’s Old Trafford stadium.

Team News: Jose Mourinho has a near enough fully fit side to field at the Rio Tinto Stadium

Mourinho used 23 players in the last match and had taken 27 players on the pre-season tour, 28 with Romelu Lukaku. Only Scott McTominay and Sergio Romero, who signed a new long-term contract with the Old Trafford club on Sunday has not yet played, leaving Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, and Ashley Young all yet to play, but all currently being injured and brought out on the pre-season tour to gain the experience of the team travelling together, which will be a big boost ahead of the upcoming season. Perhaps McTominay will get some minutes in this match with someone missing out completely, or Mourinho will make more substitutions in a bid to find the best mix for his players. David De Gea will most likely miss out with Mourinho already revealing that De Gea and Joel Pereira would play a half each against LA Galaxy, Romero and Pereira would play again Real Salt Lake and De Gea and Romero would play against Manchester City.

Predicted Starting XI: Romelu Lukaku to partner Marcus Rashford, both leading the line in Manchester United devastating attack?

Match Prediction:

Real Salt Lake 0-7 Manchester United

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