Man United 0-0 San Jose Earthquakes: Reds unimpressive in harsh heat of California

Man United 0-0 San Jose Earthquakes: Reds unimpressive in harsh heat of California

Andreas Pereira and Alexis Sanchez impressed for United in a game in which Jose Mourinho's side failed to create enough.

Harry Robinson
Man UnitedJ. Pereira (Grant 45'), Valencia (Darmian 7'), Bailly (Tuanzebe 45'), Smalling (Fosu-Mensah 45'), Shaw (Mitchell 75'), Herrera, Garner (McTominay 45'), A. Pereira (Gomes 83'), Chong (Mata 45'), Martial, Sanchez (Greenwood 65').
San Jose Earthquakes

Manchester United were held to an unimpressive 0-0 draw by San Jose Earthquakes in Santa Clara, California.

The story of the match

Centre-back Eric Bailly should have put United ahead after just three minutes. Alexis Sanchez fizzed a free-kick in so it dropped on the edge of the six-yard box, but Bailly's header was somehow directed onto the crossbar rather than into an almost empty net in front of him. United dominated early stages.

Mourinho will be worried by his captain Antonio Valencia going down the tunnel after just seven minutes, holding his left calf.

There was little first-half action, though Sanchez was lively throughout. San Jose Earthquakes grew into the game after 25 minutes or so and started to challenge Luke Shaw with a few threatening crosses. One was headed out only for it to come fizzed back in with a testing shot for Joel Pereira. The Portuguese goalkeeper was hardly challenged, hitting it down into the ground before claiming it in his arms easily.

A dead bird on the pitch was the highlight of the first half, seeing an Earthquakes player wrap it up and his shirt and carry it off the pitch. United and a dead bird have rarely been so hard to distinguish.

Wholesale changes were made for San Jose at half-time, with the Earthquakes midway through their season. United, meanwhile, made a few themselves, bringing off youngsters Tahith Chong and Jimmy Garner as well as both centre-backs, Bailly and Smalling. Goalkeeper Pereira was replaced by new signing Lee Grant.

The former-Stoke City goalkeeper was impressive against Club America in Phoenix, Arizona in United's last fixture, with two good saves. He was forced into another 10 minutes into his second appearance for the Reds, while seeing his teammates create little in front of him.

Sanchez and Andreas Pereira were at the centre of anything United did create, and a few of Martial's runs were spotted, but when he was found by a teammate, the Frenchmen did little to threaten the Earthquakes.

Grant was called into action more than his opposition number, denying Tommy Thompson from long range.

Greenwood did well on the right flank to create United's best chance of the second half, cutting back to use his favoured left foot and deliver a wonderfully weighted cross onto the head of Scott McTominay, who couldn't engineer enough power on his header from six yards out.

It was a San Jose header which came closer to being the winning goal. Wondolowski's effort thundered against the crossbar, with Lee Grant beaten, to make it one chance apiece striking the woodwork, either side of half-time.

United were not impressive in California. It was hot, seemingly unbearably so for some. Eric Bailly, once he was substituted off, sat with an ice bag resting on his head, melting down over his face. That kind of hot. But United made a string of substitutions and didn't create enough regardless of the climate or the players they're missing.

Mourinho will hope for more when United play Leicester to open the season on August 10th, but he'll have been pleased by the performances of Sanchez and Pereira in particular.

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Takeaways from the match

Sanchez lively in first match

The Chilean hasn't had a full pre-season for a decade, it's said. He missed the Reds' first match due to visa problems, but arrived in the US a couple of days ago and played 65 minutes. He was lively and worked hard.

Sanchez was central to everything United created before being replaced by 16-year-old Mason Greenwood. Despite the early issues to his pre-season, it's now back on track and he's one player United should be able to rely upon throughout the season if he can carry on like this over the next few games.

Pereira adds something else

Andreas Pereira has had two seasons on loan in La Liga, first in Granada and then Valencia. The experience has clearly helped him.

Playing as a number 6 in the second half and slightly further forward in the first half, Pereira impressed. His passes through the lines are far more frequent and of higher quality than his midfield teammates and it's something that United have been missing.

The Brazilian shouldn't be sent on loan again this season. He's definitely got a role to play in Mourinho's side.

Mourinho giving youth a chance

Yes, it's pre-season. Yes, it's mainly because half of United's squad are on holiday after the World Cup. But Mourinho is giving United's biggest young talents experience in America, and he's doing it well.

Tahith Chong was given a chance off the bench against Club America and did well, revitalising United. He and 17-year-old midfielder Jimmy Garner started against San Jose, and were taken off at half-time.

16-year-old Greenwood came on for Sanchez at 65 minutes and he's now played in both of the first two games. There's not been excessive hype or excessive minutes. Mourinho is managing the talents well so far, giving them more than a five-minute cameo, but not throwing them in so far at the deep end that they drown.

Academy players in action vs San Jose Earthquakes (10): Joel Pereira, Axel Tuanzebe, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Demi Mitchell, Jimmy Garner, Scott McTominay, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong, Andreas Pereira, Mason Greenwood.

Stand-out players

Pereira and Sanchez were undoubtedly United's most impressive players, combining together frequently.


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