Manchester United 1-0 Philadelphia Union: American Summer Tour Continues With Win for United

Manchester United's Ryan Giggs (R) poses for a photo with a fan during a practice session at PPL park in Chester, Pennsylvania July 20, 2010. Manchester United is in Philadelphia to play an exhibition match against the Philadelphia Union MLS team. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

Having experienced a DVR mental lapse when it came to United’s first stop on their American tour v Celtic, I finally got the opportunity to see Manchester United take on Philadelphia Union of MLS in a pretty entertaining friendly match Wednesday evening.

Sir Alex Ferguson elected to start an attacking 4-3-3 with Danny Welbeck, Federico Macheda and Gabriel Obertan up top that played out slightly more like a 4-4-2 when Obertan would drop back deeper to defend when the Union enjoyed long spells of possession. Youngster Tom Cleverly and veterans Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs rounded out the midfield three for United who looked decent at times yet somehow also looked like a team playing only their second competitive friendly this pre season.

Gabriel Obertan came closest for United early, one of his only bright moments in the first half, with what would have been a fantastic right sided volley with a ball from Danny Welbeck who was the most athletic looking player on the pitch.

United seemed to click early as the midfielders continually linked up well with the forward front three. There were chances for both sides in the opening 20, but neither side able to find that killer finish in front of goal. Paul Scholes did what he does best by continually sitting deep in his own half electing to pick out runs from United’s attacking players on either flank with almost perfectly weighted balls.

United through Scholes looked most dangerous while the Union attempted to hold their own and represented themselves well against United through striker Danny Mwanga and right sided midfielder Sebastien Le Toux. Even after United’s multiple spells of attacking possession, the Union still defended well during the first half keeping United at bay and allowing only a few clear cut shots on goal in the opening 45.

Gabriel Obertan will have frustrated United supporters during the first half. Although he later would make up for his form with a goal, he was quite easily dealt with by Jordan Harvey on the right side of midfield and gave away possession more than a few times as he looked to play the ball short. As frustrating as Obertan was, Macheda and Welbeck up front were equally as lively and effective for United in attack.

0-0 at the half but an entertaining game for those watching on ESPN2 in HD.

As the second half wore on and the score remained even, the substitutes poured in for both sides. Among them were Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Fletcher for United. Five in total for United and eight for the Union.

As close as the Union came to taking the lead in the 69th, so too was the decision which placed Dimitar Berbatov offside that could have led to the opener minutes before.

The Frenchman Obertan finally found the opener for United in the 76th when Welbeck produced a brilliant through ball which put Obertan straight in on goal for the score. Credit to the Union who defended bravely throughout the night but just weren’t able to finish while their defense were finally caught out ball watching Welbeck as Obertan made a streaking run into the box for a nice finish.

As for the commentary, Max Bretos was Max Bretos and Taylor Twellman was better than in his performance last weekend during Spurs v San Jose. However, the duo reached a new low when Twellman asked Bretos how man Critters movies were made when they mentioned Leonardo DiCaprio making his big screen debut in 1991 in the third installment of the Critters series, the same year Ryan Giggs started his illustrious career with United.

There were a few more odd moments from the duo who really just seemed to be having a good night out at a match as opposed to delivering serious commentary. How well they did or how much they annoyed you will be left up to you the viewer.

Positives for United on the night were Danny Welbeck in attack with his pace and athleticism and Tom Cleverley showing his potential in midfield with an energetic and strong 60 minutes. United’s next match will be on Sunday at Kansas City Wizards followed by the much anticipated game against the MLS All-Stars next Wednesday in Houston.

Here’s hoping I remember to set my DVR.

19 thoughts on “Manchester United 1-0 Philadelphia Union: American Summer Tour Continues With Win for United”

  1. DVR stands for digital video recorder.

    It just meant I forgot to record the match when I was out one night and missed it.

    Somewhat of a lame attempt at tech-humor.

  2. The announcers are just horrible.
    They seem to think that because they have a microphone in front of their mouth that we want to hear about them. Their play-by-play is slow and late and they offer little back-story or history about players. They just seem like a couple of knuckleheads you’d happen to sit next to if you sat at some bar and watched the game.

  3. The worst line from last night: “fast-break soccer…”

    Horrible announcing from the two of them. I hate when American announcers use basketball/football/baseball analogies to describe the match.

    Oh and to Will who commented above: what game were you watching? The game ended 1-0.

    1. I don’t understand why everyone makes such a big deal about parallel terminology
      fast break=counter attack
      Derby=Rivalry Game

      And there are many others
      I use them interchangeably in all sports. People are from different cultures and have different dialects and are raised using different terms to describe the same thing.

      If you’re that anal about the announcers there’s always the mute button

      1. If we are going to allow stuff like this, then I’d like the NFL announcers to refer to their sport as Throwball. Or how about baseball=rounders? A tackle is a tackle is a tackle. It is NEVER a steal. A keeper is never a tender. And enough already with that “on frame”, “PK” bullshit too.

        Btw, Bretos is a clown who is already undermining ESPN’s coverage. “Eeeeeeyyyyeesssssssssss” whenever a goal is scored. WTF.

      2. Different Cultures? Different Dialects? Mute Button?

        What ARE you talking about njndirish? I was merely stating that its annoying when American announcers use analogies.

        Calm down down idiot!

        Oh and you said “anal”…..hahaaaa!

  4. I understand you are writing this for Man U fans, but the Union dominated the ball most of the match. Man U used long balls and pace to try an beat the ball hungry Philadelphia squad. But couldn’t. Giggs looks old and slow wide, missed a clear chance then moaned for a spot kick which was never going to come. Le Toux outclassed the Man U back line over and over and just couldn’t finish. Scholes was missing most of the match except for a poor tackle that earned him a yellow.

    Sort of sad that you wore your fanboy glasses for this one…

    1. May have to agree to disagree on this one.

      Although the Union represented themselves quite well – something i touched on numerous times in the article – they in no way dominated most of the match. That point is silly and absurd.

      Also keep in mind that this was United’s 2nd match of their preseason tour – not likely to be at their best.

      And if I have my Manchester United ‘fanboy glasses’ on then would it be safe to say that you have your MLS or Union ‘fanboy glasses’ on?

      The Union didn’t exactly set the world on fire last night.

      Lastly, this is a website that covers the Premier League and not the MLS. I can guarantee you that every article I write will have something to do with the Premier League and or a Premier League side and will be written from that perspective. Point in case, United and the Union in last night’s match.

      If you’re looking for article’s written from the perspective of the MLS and MLS clubs, check out

      1. Don’t like Man U and definitely don’t like MLS, and I gotta agree with Patrick on this one – Philly was the better team for the majority of the game. They had the better chances but their finishing was poor, mostly becasue Mwanga’s thru balls were consistently too heavy and the shot had to come in from a tight angle. Man U only scored on a tired giveaway in midfield. Scholes was decent, but Giggs did look old and tired… Welbeck is fast!

        Overall pretty good for an exhibition – hope NYRB vs. Tottenham will be even better tonite. COYS

      2. Yeah know… wow.

        defensive much?

        I said Union Dominated the ball. and they did. there where periods where they’d have 30 passes without Man U even getting a sniff.
        Even in the second half when Union unloaded its bench, Man U had trouble. and yeah I get that this is a PL blog, and I am hardly a MLS fan… I’m the one who says they are just a div 1 league… But if you wanna be taken seriously you can’t write such subjective recounts as this. Besides, what I wrote about was Man U weakness not the Union.

        so thin skinned…

    2. Well, last time I checked this site was called EPL talk, not MLS talk. If you really care about the philly side of things, here you go…

      But otherwise, I think jesse is pretty aware of his audience and who he’s writing for. If you go back and read his post again, you’ll find multiple times where he praises the Union and comes down on MUFC. It’s a pretty honest analysis and what I would expect from someone that is an admitted Red Devils fan. He’s looking for the good in his team, but also willing say when something is frustrating him *cough* Obertan *cough*. And if you’re annoyed by fanboy glasses, you probably shouldn’t be reading MUFC analysis from an MUFC fan. Just sayin’.

    3. Union had long spells of posession, but so did United. Overall, posession was quite even.
      Union had a handful of really good chances but could not finish. That being said, they were equally lucky in the several United chances that didn’t go in… Berba rattling the crossbar for one, the handful of close range shots saved by the keeper for others.
      Union came out to play and did well. When watching the game, you can tell the big guns at United really didn’t want to go into challenges–I could count the number of slide tackles with one hand. This is, of course, perfectly understandable. These are pre-season games. There are no trophies.
      In the end, quality shone through.
      Observations from Lincoln Financial Field, Section C20.

  5. Great game last night – one of the better pre-season friendlys I can remember The Union gave as good as they got and could easily have nicked it. I fear for United. They look thin minus the world cup contingent. I think they could do a Liverpool this year and struggle to make the top four.

  6. I don’t think they will struggle, after all it was a 2nd team that Man Utd had starting that game. How many players who started that game last night will start on the opening day of the Premier League season? My guess would be one, Paul Scholes.
    I thought the Union did well and passed the ball well but I don’t know how much we can read into it, I think if any team plays their second team in pre-seaon away from home then they are hardly going to go and win 5-0 unless the opponents are really crap which the union were not.

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