Manchester United were back in action overnight, winning 1-0 against Club America in Seattle.
Morgan Schneiderlin scored the only goal of the game while Bastian Schweinsteiger also impressed on his debut in midfield.
Another player to do quite well as Sam Johnstone, the young goalkeeper who has quietly gone about his business while every man and their dog goes crazy about the future of every other United goalkeeper.
Jamie Jackson of the Guardian was impressed:
Louis van Gaal might learn more this pre-season if Manchester United lose a game. This victory made it seven from seven for the Dutchman. The count from last summer was six victories, yet when Swansea City visited on the opening day, United were handed a 2-1 defeat before their own crowd that left confidence “smashed”, the manager admitted.
While United had to wait until match five of that campaign to record a first competitive win under Van Gaal, the opening 45 minutes of his second United tour was the Morgan Schneiderlin show.
Pre-season warm-ups offer no precise gauge of how a player and side are functioning. This is especially true of the first outing. Yet the ex-Southampton man offered enough to suggest the £25m paid by Van Gaal for him may be shrewd business.
The 25-year-old is far less heralded than Bastian Schweinsteiger, the World Cup and Champions League winner Van Gaal bought from Bayern Munich. Yet Schneiderlin indicated he has an all-round game that United sorely need in the middle of the park. Tackling, passing, scheming runs into the area, and an eye for goal that featured a header beyond Hugo Gonzalez, were all in the Schneiderlin act against Club America in this International Champions Cup contest.
Schneiderlin’s strike, which separated the teams at the break and at the close, followed the opening corner. Ashley Young took it from the right. When the ball broke to Juan Mata, the Spaniard stood a ball up at the far post and Schneiderlin outmuscled Javier Guemez and looped the header over Gonzalez.
Ahead of kickoff Van Gaal stated that David De Gea and Antonio Valencia had suffered minor injuries and would not be involved. “We don’t take risks,” the manager said. So Sam Johnstone started in the net, and Matteo Darmian at right-back, the latter one of three new signings in the XI. The Italian was joined by Schneiderlin, who accompanied Michael Carrick at the base of midfield, and Memphis Depay, who began the game in the hole behind captain Wayne Rooney.
This meant United were lined up in a shape closer to a 4-2-3-1 than the 4-3-3 Van Gaal has said will be the coming season’s formation. By the time this first of the two sides the manager sent out, on a cool Seattle evening, wandered off for the break there had been an understandable sluggishness from some.
Blind was another caught out by United’s sharper opponents, the Dutchman cleaning out Miguel Samudio in the penalty area. Why Edvin Jurisevic, the referee, failed to award Mexico’s most successful club a spot-kick is a mystery. Instead the official waved play on to the disgruntlement of the men in yellow.
The big plus was the lead United held when the club’s second side of the night took their place for the second stanza. And the slick interplay, at times, of Mata, Rooney, Schneiderlin, and Young.
The complete personnel change for the second period brought Schweinsteiger into a contest for United for the first time. He sat alongside Ander Herrera in a fresh side that flew at America from the restart, and came close to doubling the advantage.
Schweinsteiger has been acquired for his blend of high talent and ability to lead. He settled instantly into arm-waving mode, offering guidance to his new colleagues. The German’s coolness on the ball was also paraded in a display that hinted at how and why the 30-year-old can be a prime factor in elevating United into the contenders Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman, has demanded the club must be next term.
Here are photos of the Reds in action :