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Ratings: Mata the MOTM in 1-1 draw against Club America; Chong can hold his head up high too…

Manchester United drew 1-1 with Mexican side Club America in the first pre-season match of the summer, played at the University of Phoenix Stadium. It was a goal-less first half with the Mexican side scoring on the hour after a number of changes. Juan Mata scored United equaliser after hitting the post in the first half of the match.

It was a game of two halves for United. The first half was both sides displaying their stronger teams, testing each other to find the opening goal of the game, which never came in the first half. Lee Grant, on his debut, kept a clean sheet during his time on the pitch, Club America scoring with Joel Pereira in goal, which was unfortunate for him.

Juan Mata, after hitting the post in the first half, found United’s equaliser and was named the Man of the Match. However, Tahiti Chong was one of the standout performers in the second half, making his debut for United’s first team, getting himself involved from the off, with will have not only impressed his teammates, but also his coaches and the manager.

There were some things to learn for the next game but with United’s squad missing 15 players this summer, due to the FIFA World Cup, injury and administration issues. However, Alexis Sanchez seems to be heading over to Los Angeles ready for the latter matches in the tour and David De Gea, Nemanja Matic, and Fred will join up with the squad next week. There was something to be excited about in this young team.

Manchester United

13 Lee Grant

The debutant had a good half, making a few good saves and looking like a commanding goalkeeper. We all know what he is capable of and it could mean United have three decent goalkeepers in their ranks ahead of the new season. Grant was replaced by Pereira at the start of the second half.

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25 Antonio Valencia

The captain had a good performance after a summer break. Got forward at times and did what he needed to do in defence. Tried to play the ball into space, using his space to get to it but the clearance was made by the Mexican side. Valencia was replaced by Fosu-Mensah at the start of the second half.

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3 Eric Bailly

Solid in defence, doing what he needed to do, mostly when he needed to do it. A solid and composed defender. Not sure why he really ended the season on the sidelines but I hope he impresses Mourinho, as during his debut season, he was the best defender at the club by a mile. Both Bailly and Smalling were caught on the hour with a player getting between them and scoring from a header.

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Chris Smalling

Club America pressured the defence at times but Smalling and his defensive partner, mostly cleared the danger. What was not cleared was dealt with by Grant, who made more than one good save. Red faced on the hour after the Mexican side scored from a header, getting in between Bailly and Smalling to go 1-0 up.

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23 Luke Shaw

The left-back has seemingly won his place for the foreseeable future with Mourinho confirming this back four will start the new Premier League season. Shaw did what he needed to do and broke forward at times to add more pressure to the defence and the goalkeeper, seeking a goal for his club. Was booked in the 73rd minute for a foul. Was replaced by 16-year-old Greenwood in the 76th minute.

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21 Ander Herrera

Played a good half in midfield and looked to try and be the creative player in the midfield trio. Could have done more, but for a first game, after a seemingly long summer, the Spaniard did alright. Sloppy in possession at times in the second half but it was early days and this seemed to be a tough test for United.

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39 Scott McTominay

After a breakthrough season, McTominay will be looking to impress Mourinho and he started doing just that. The midfield may have been missing Matic and Pogba but the young Scottish international helped his team counter the Mexican side and aimed to control the midfield, which did and didn't happen. Was unable to continue after suffering a head injury inside the last five minutes. Was replaced by Tuanzebe.

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Andreas Pereira

Seeking to impress Mourinho after a season on loan at Valencia, the Belgian-born Brazilian took his chance and got stuck in to try and earn his stripes ahead of the new season. Unsure whether he will be defensive or creative, or a bit of both, will come out in the wash during pre-season. It seemed Mourinho was testing the player, to find his true position in the team. He certainly has something to offer this club.

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8 Juan Mata

Unlucky not to find the opting goal of the match after launching his shot just inside the box but hitting the post. Played well after his summer break. Scored the equaliser in the 78th minute, saving some face for United. Was replaced by Gomes in the 87th minute.

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9 Anthony Martial

Led the line through the middle, just as Mourinho did suggest at the tail end of last season, not that there was much choice at this period, with Lukaku on holiday after a good World Cup. Had a few chances, but nothing that could have changed the game in the first half. Martial played 15 minutes or so in the second half, had a good change to find a goal before being replaced by Darmian in the 62nd minute.

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35 Demetri Mitchell

Had a great start to United's pre-season. Playing in a more advanced role on the left-wing, with Martial playing centrally, the young defender-cum-attacker took his chance and gave the Mexican side something to think about. Played some of the second half, continuing where he left off before being replaced by Chong.

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Substitutes

Joel Castro Pereira

Replaced Grant 46'. Made a good save, rushing out of his area to deny the Mexican side from an opening goal. Minutes later, conceded through a rocket header which could not be thwarted. Cool headed and kept his composure despite conceding.

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Matteo Darmian

Replaced Martial 60'. Played as the left-back in the second half. United ended much better than they started the half. It could be the last time we see Darmian, or one of the last times.

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24 Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Replaced Valencia 46'. Seemed to be a bit rusty, which is to be expected this early into pre-season. Was unable to get the better of his man on a few occasions. His inexperience is not to blame and I fully believe that he will get better. Seemed to get better as he got more involved in the game. United ended the game much better then they started the second half.

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38 Axel Tuanzebe

Replaced McTominay 87'. Came on late into the game to replace the injured McTominay. United pressured the Mexican side in the final few minutes.

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28 Angel Gomes

Replaced Mata 87'. Game on for the goalscorer for the final few minutes. Did not really get involved but will be thankful for the chance. Will get more of them during this tour.

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Tahith Chong

Replaced Mitchell 60'. Played like a bat out of hell. Pressed his opposition and really took the chance he was given. Some say it may be too soon for him, it might be. He looked full of confidence and got involved from the off.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Shaw 76'. Put in a good display in his first match for the first team. Mourinho will be happy to see another youth player blood themselves into the team. The future looks great for this lad.

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Goals: Juan Mata 78′

Manchester United: Grant (J. Pereira 46′); Valencia (Fosu-Mensah 46′), Bailly, Smalling, Shaw (Greenwood 76′); Herrera, McTominay (Tuanzebe 87′), A. Pereira; Mata (Gomes 87′), Martial (Darmian 60′), Mitchell (Chong 60′)

Substitutes Not Used: Williams; Hamilton, Garner; Bohui

Bookings: Luke Shaw 73′

Report: Manchester United 1-1 Club America – MUTour2018

Manchester United drew 1-1 with Mexican side Club America in the first pre-season match of the summer, played at the University of Phoenix Stadium. It was a goal-less first half with the Mexican side scoring on the hour after a number of changes. Juan Mata scored United equaliser after hitting the post in the first half of the match.

Jose Mourinho started an experienced side against the Mexican team in United’s first pre-season match of the summer. Anthony Martial led the line, flanked by Juan Mata and Demetri Mitchell with a midfield trio of Ander Herrera, Scott McTominay, and Andreas Pereira ahead of a back four which consisted of Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, and Luke Shaw, with Lee Grant making his debut for his new club.

United started the match and immediately tried to get into the advanced area in search of an opening goal of pre-season, however, Club America were seeking the same thing. It may have been 40 degrees outside but the atmosphere inside the stadium, with the roof closed, was much cooler. It was a bright start for Mitchell, who started the match in an advanced left-wing role.

United had the first chance in the seventh minute of the match with Pereira moving the ball forward to Martial, seeking to play a one-two with Herrera but the Mexican side cut possessions thwarting United’s chance to find an early goal. The Mexican side then had a period of possession before United won the ball through Martial with United taking charge of the game, holding possession and launching an attack.

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In the ninth minute, Martial came down in the box, seemingly with the player seeking a penalty. However, a corner was awarded instead after the Frenchman went to ground too easily, which came to nothing for Mourinho’s side. The Mexican side had a chance in the 12th minute of the match, which came to nothing for them. United had another shot on goal in the 13th minute, through Martial from just outside of the box, it was over.

In the 15th minute of the match, United were advancing into the final third of the pitch, finding Mata in a perfect position to unleash a shot on goal, which came off the far post with the Spaniard just inside the box when he shot on goal. It was an unfortunate miss for United. United then started to control the game, in slow fashion with plenty of players in Club America’s half of the pitch.

United were the team on top in the first quarter of the match, having another chance to take the lead in the 19th minute which saw Shaw in an advanced area aiming to get something for his side. Martial had a shot on goal in the 22nd minute of the match, taking a double deflection with United winning a corner, taken by Pereira, which was cleared from danger by the Mexican side.

Club America started to get themselves into the game in the 26th minute with Grant having to make his first save as a United player. United seemed to be a bit sloppy in defence, unable to clear the ball in the run up to Grant’s save. The Mexican side had another shot, after a good period of play from United, in the 31st minute of the match but the shot was well off target and into the stands.

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Club America tested United’s defence again with Grant coming into play once again with an impressive save to deny the Mexican side from taking the lead. United were unable to clear the ball from the danger area in the run up to the shot with the Mexican’s rushing into advanced areas and seemingly seeking to open United up, which they nearly did. It was impressive play by both teams.

In the 37th minute of the match, Club America were breaking through United’s midfield and defence once again, although not as dangerously as they had, at times, launching a cross into the box with United making the clearance, giving away a corner, which came to nothing, giving another corner away minutes later, which turned into another, all coming to nothing for the Mexican side.

In the final five minutes of the first half, both United and Club America were trying to find the better chance to take a lead into the break. Valencia played a good ball forward, into space, nearly getting ahead of his man and advancing but the Mexican side made the clearance to deny Valencia from the space to put a cross into the box. United won a free-kick, through Martial in the 44th minute of the match.

Mata aimed to take the free-kick quickly, the referee stopping it and giving the Mexican side enough time to find some stability in their side. Pereira ended up taking the free-kick, sending the ball goal wards but not quite on target. Club America ended the half on the front foot, gaining ground and seeking to end in style but United made the clearance, which ended the half.

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At the start of the second half, Mourinho made two changes with Joel Pereira replacing Grant and Timothy Fosu-Mensah replacing Valencia. United started the second half more defensive with the Mexican side, after a number of changes, seemingly seeking to change the game. Whilst United did break through Martial, he lost the ball just before entering the final third.

Shaw won a free-kick in the 50th minute of the game after being blocked when trying to create something for his side. It came to nothing for United. The game was starting to become fast-paced with the Mexican side, somewhat fresher with all the changes, putting some pressure on United but it was pressure they were able to deal with efficiently and effectively.

Shaw made good dispossession in the box and led United on the attack. However, the Mexican side regained possession and broke on the counter. Joel Pereira made a good save, coming off his line and cutting out the chance of a goal, showing his ability as a goalkeeper, which will be good for him before he heads out of the club on loan at some point this summer, presumably when De Gea arrives next week.

In the 56th minute of the match, Martial was in a good position in the box, seeking to collect the pass but Club America dealt with the chance effectively, making the clearance from danger. In the 58th minute, two more changes were made by the Mexican side with United still having nine players on the pitch from the first half.

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Club America took the lead on the hour mark with a bullet header which Pereira could not stop, straight into the top corner. It was a great goal which left United needing to gain something from this match. Mourinho made a double change with Tahith Chong and Matteo Darmian replacing Martial and Mitchell. United seemed to be under the cosh in the passing five minutes after going a goal down.

Chong had a good bit of involvement in the 66th minute, playing the ball into the advanced area after regaining possession and breaking forward. However, his pass did not reach a teammate in order to create something for United. United won a corner in the 75th minute of the match, still trailing. Just before the corner was taken, Mourinho made another change with 16-year-old Mason Greenwood replacing Shaw.

United found the equaliser in the 79th minute with Mata getting on the end of the ball and firing past the Mexican side’s goalkeeper. It was now level with all the play for in the game. United were off the mark in terms of goals, despite going 1-0 down early in the second half. United won a corner in the 83rd minute, despite pressuring the Mexican side, nothing came of it.

With just over five minutes left, McTominay was down, seemingly suffering from a head injury. He was treated on the pitch but came off with Axel Tuanzebe replacing him. Angel Gomes then replaced Mata with three minutes of normal time left in the game. Two minutes were added on at the end of the match. That was it for the first pre-season game, not a defeat for United but not a victory, however, some impressive performances.

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Goals: Juan Mata 78′

Manchester United: Grant (J. Pereira 46′); Valencia (Fosu-Mensah 46′), Bailly, Smalling, Shaw (Greenwood 76′); Herrera, McTominay (Tuanzebe 87′), A. Pereira; Mata (Gomes 87′), Martial (Darmian 60′), Mitchell (Chong 60′)

Substitutes Not Used: Williams; Hamilton, Garner; Bohui

Bookings: Luke Shaw 73′

Confirmed Starting XI: Manchester United v Club America

Manchester United start their pre-season tour of the United States of America against Mexican side Club America at the University of Phoenix Stadium, in Phoenix, Arizona. Jose Mourinho has taken a 24-man squad for the first part of the tour, which includes 13 players from the clubs Academy.

David De Gea, Nemanja Matic, and Fred will join the squad next week. Sergio Romero is expected to sit this game out as he is recovering from injury and Diogo Dalot is also recovering from a knee injury, keeping him out of the tour.

United will play five matches in the USA this summer, facing San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday before commencing the International Champions Cup with United set to face AC Milan, Liverpool, and Real Madrid. The Old Trafford club will play one further match, against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in Munich four days before the Premier League season commences with a home match against Leicester City on Friday 10 August 2018.

Mourinho, facing starting the season without at least seven players, will need to find the momentum needed to start the season in style. Here is the starting XI for United’s first match, which will probably see more players earn minutes on the pitch throughout the match.

Manchester United:

Grant;

Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Shaw;

Herrera, McTominay, A. Pereira;

Mata, Martial, Mitchell

Substitutes:

J. Pereira; Darmian, Fosu-Mensah, Tuanzebe, Williams; Hamilton, Garner; Gomes, Chong, Bohui, Greenwood

The FIFA World Cup this summer kept us all occupied during the break but the return of club football is great to see. United still have plenty of work in order to take on the might of Manchester City and other challengers in the Premier League this summer but it is a certainty that United are aiming to get things sorted.

United have signed three players in Diogo Dalot, Fred, and Lee Grant but the right-wing, the central defence, the left-back position and even the right-wing area need some improvement. Luke Shaw could solve the left-back problem if he takes this chance to prove himself.

copyright: JW