Recap: Man. United red hot, blank MLS All-Stars 4-0
HARRISON, N.J. – Even with Major League Soccer's best on the field,
Manchester United’s dominance of the United States continued Wednesday
In front of a sold-out crowd of 26,760, the storied English
franchise routed the MLS All-Stars, 4-0, in Wednesday’s MLS All-Star
Game at Red Bull Arena, showing exactly why they are the defending
Barclays English Premier League champions.
The Red Devils showed exactly why they’re one of the world’s premier
franchises with precision passing and individual creativity. Anderson
began the scoring rout after a clever buildup, Ji-Sung Park produced a
moment of brilliance to double the score, Dimitar Berbatov pounced on
his own rebound before a deflected shot finally wrapped up scoring.
The first goal of the contest came after a terrific passing sequence
between Wayne Rooney, Berbatov and Anderson, a Brazilian international
who finished it off with an easy tap-in past Union goalkeeper Faryd
Mondragón in the 20th minute.
Man. United made it 2-0 just before halftime as South Korean star
Park Ji-Sung undressed Galaxy defender Sean Franklin and then beat
Mondragón – the veteran goalie who did snuff out a cross from Rooney
earlier in the game right before Berbatov likely would have scored.
Berbatov, though, redeemed himself right after the halftime break –
but not without a nervous moment. After collecting a through-ball from
Rooney, his chip shot over Houston ’keeper Tally Hall hit the crossbar.
Luckily, Berbatov was able to pounce on the rebound and make it 3-0 in
favor of Man. United.
Even after subbing out many of their stars in the 61st minute –
Rooney (one assist), Park (one goal), Berbatov (one goal), midfielder
Michael Carrick and defender Rio Ferdinand – the reigning Premier League
champs didn’t take their foot off their gas.
In the 68th minute, 20-year-old Danny Welbeck dribbled to his right and
blasted a beautiful bending shot that deflected off Geoff Cameron to
beat Talley and make it 4-0 in favor of the EPL powerhouse.
To their credit, though, the MLS All-Stars had the majority of the
chances early in the contest. In the fifth minute, Colorado’s Omar
Cummings was sprung free on a breakaway but Man. United goalkeeper
Anders Lindegaard cut down his angle and made the stop.
Two minutes later, Sporting Kansas City’s Omar Bravo made a tricky
backheel pass to LA Galaxy star David Beckham, whose low driving shot
went just wide. Beckham had another good effort midway through the first
half, but Lindegaard made a jumping save on the Englishman’s cracker.
Houston’s Brad Davis wasn’t afraid fire away either, and his third
shot of the half – a 29th-minute rocket – caused Lindegaard to leap of
his feet again and bat away the ball.
Lindegaard, who joined Man. United last November, finished with four saves before exiting at halftime.
The MLS All-Stars didn’t create much in the second half, but did
have one golden opportunity to carve into Man. United’s lead.
Unfortunately for Hans Backe’s crew, Bravo couldn’t finish a great look
on a rebound off of a Chris Wondolowski (San Jose) shot.
One of the biggest cheers for the host side came in the 83rd minute
when Seattle’s 41-year-old goalkeeper Kasey Keller entered the game,
making his final all-star appearance. The former United States standout,
who was introduced as an MLS legend, is retiring at the end of the 2011
Both teams were missing key offensive players as Galaxy midfielder
Landon Donovan sat out for the MLS all-stars with a calf strain and
Mexican striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez missed the contest after
suffering a concussion during training Tuesday night.
The All-Stars went down another man in the 32nd minute when Real
Salt Lake defender Jámison Olave came out with a left knee injury, being
replaced by Dynamo defender Cameron. Real Salt Lake's other representative, Kyle Beckerman, entered Backe's midfield at the half and logged the final 45 minutes in his second All-Star Game appearance.
But even at full strength, the MLS All-Stars would have certainly
struggled against a Man. United team that had already drubbed Seattle,
New England and Chicago during this US tour.
The EPL giants have now beaten the MLS All-Stars each of the last two seasons by a combined 9-2 margin.