Manchester United begin their pre-season tour of the U.S. at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday, where they take on LA Galaxy in the Chevrolet Cup.
The clash will mark Louis van Gaal’s first match in the United hot seat, and he’ll no doubt be showcasing his fellow new boys Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw as the trio look to start their careers as Red Devils in the best possible fashion.
Here, we look ahead to what’s set to be a momentous occasion in Pasadena as the two sides meet for the very first time.
Venue: Rose Bowl, Pasadena
Date: Thursday, July 24 (UK) / Wednesday, July 23 (US)
Time: 4:05 a.m. BST / 11:05 p.m. ET
TV Info: MUTV (U.K. only, subscription required)/Fox Sports 1 (U.S. only)
Live Stream: Fox Sports website (U.S. only)
Manchester United Expecting Tough Test in California
When United last touched down for a pre-season tour of America back in 2011, it was the easiest of easy rides for the club.
The Red Devils won all four matches against MLS opposition during that tour, with an 18-1 aggregate scoreline rather telling the story.
However, things are different this time around, and with soccer more popular and professional than ever in the States, it may not be quite as simple for United on Wednesday.
That’s something winger Ashley Young agrees with, having told Manchester United’s official website his side will be taking nothing for granted against the Galaxy:
I remember on my first tour there were quite a few tough games. I think we managed to get some good results but they are always hard matches, obviously with the climate being much warmer than it is in England. We have to adjust and compete against good teams so it will be a tough test but a good one. Football is getting bigger and bigger out here. A lot of players who have played in England have gone to the MLS. When we visited a few years ago the stadiums were packed and I'm sure there will be lots of fans here again this time.
Indeed, the Rose Bowl will be packed to the rafters when United come to town, and the club revealed what a magnificent stadium it is via Twitter:
Let’s hope the players can put on a show worthy of such an arena, and if the Galaxy’s form is anything to go by, that’s a near certainty.
Saturday’s narrow 2-1 loss against Sporting Kansas City brought about LA’s first league loss in nine matches, according to SoccerWay, with a familiar face in the form of his life throughout such a promising spell for the franchise.
Robbie Keane, who enjoyed a fruitful Premier League career before making the switch to the U.S., has found his goalscoring touch with the Galaxy and will look to continue that against United.
The Irishman has netted three goals in his last two matches, per SoccerWay, with one of his two goals against New England Revolution well worth writing home about—as the Galaxy’s official Twitter feed revealed:
A former Liverpool player, Keane won’t be too popular among the United faithful in the Rose Bowl, but silencing his critics is what the 34-year-old does best.
However, all eyes will be on Van Gaal and Manchester United in Pasadena, with the Dutch manager desperate to start his tenure with a victory.
Keen to experiment with his newly inherited squad, it’s unlikely that Van Gaal will play a full-strength side against the Galaxy, but his young guns should still have enough to cross the line.
Prediction: LA Galaxy 1-3 Manchester United