Alexis Sanchez, Manchester United Play to 0-0 Draw vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Alexis Sanchez of Manchester United in action during the Emirates FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on May 19, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

Manchester United remain without a victory on the 2018-19 season after a 0-0 friendly draw against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Even with regulars like Alexis Sanchez, Chris Smalling and others in the lineup, Sunday's match ended scoreless at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

After a 1-1 draw with Club America in the only other fixture of the current U.S. tour, the start of this campaign has left a lot to be desired from the Premier League club.


Thin Manchester United Attack Needs Reinforcements

With so many Manchester United players making deep runs in the World Cup, it has left the club without many options until the players return from their countries.

Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford are among those missing, putting pressure on the forwards and midfielders currently on the team.

The remaining players weren't up to the task, failing to score a single goal despite facing a San Jose club that is the worst in Major League Soccer with just 12 points in 19 matches.

Sanchez, who missed the last match with a visa issue, was one of the best players on the pitch while creating quality opportunities throughout the match. His free-kick was one of the better chances of the entire day:

Manchester United @ManUtd

This. Was. Close! 😳 @Alexis_Sanchez flashes a free-kick just wide of the goal. #MUTOUR Watch the game live on #MUTV: https://t.co/vnmRvrOFyZ https://t.co/p9OrbFUx4w

Unfortunately, there wasn't too much else to like from the regulars on the roster, including a quiet Anthony Martial as he deals with transfer speculation.

Even when there were looks at the net—like Eric Bailly getting an open header—the team failed to capitalize with goals.

Per ESPN FC, Manchester United led with 62 percent possession but turned that into only one shot on goal. San Jose outshot the visitors 12-7 overall.

With Antonio Valencia also going off with an apparent leg injury after just seven minutes, it's clear depth could be a real problem for this club.

United need the World Cup players back in the lineup, but that might not be enough. A successful season could require some more valuable transfer additions.


Andreas Pereira, Young Players Give Fans Glimpse of Bright Future

One of the most important benefits to the preseason friendlies is getting a chance to see some players who would otherwise not crack the first team. This match had plenty of that, giving reason to be excited about the future within the organization.

Andreas Pereira was arguably the biggest beneficiary in this one, performing well in the midfield throughout the match.

Anthony Hay of the Daily Mail provided his thoughts on the 22-year-old:

He made strong passes and showed an impressive work rate to help on both ends of the pitch.

Pereira has seen limited playing time in the Premier League to this point and was loaned out in each of the past two years, but he is probably worth keeping on the squad this season in order to provide valuable depth for Manchester United.

Meanwhile, there were several players who likely won't help this year but provide glimpses for the future.

James Garner, 17, only played the first half but held his own, as Rob Dawson of ESPN noted:

Rob Dawson @RobDawsonESPN

Half time in Santa Clara. Still 0-0. Sanchez playing well and Bailly should have scored. Garner's movement in the centre of midfield impressive for someone so young.

Tahith Chong, 18, also got the start, while 16-year-old Mason Greenwood appeared in the second half.

In a match that was otherwise forgettable, these players took advantage of their opportunities for playing time. 


What's Next?

The competition will ramp up for Manchester United, which will take on AC Milan Wednesday in the International Champions Cup at the StubHub Center outside Los Angeles.

San Jose will return to MLS play with a home matchup against the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday.