MLS All-Stars 0-4 Manchester United: Daily Mirror match report
Published 09:26 28/07/11 By David McDonnell in New Jersey
Manchester United's pre-season goal glut continued as they racked up another convincing win, this time against an MLS All-Stars side captained by their former star David Beckham.
Beckham turned back the clock with a passing masterclass at New Jersey's Red Bull Arena, but Sir Alex Ferguson's side proved too strong for the All-Stars, who also included former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry in their line-up.
After a 4-1 win against New England Revolution, a 7-0 mauling of Seattle Sounders and a more modest 3-1 triumph over Chicago Fire, United maintained their impressive pre-season form with another emphatic victory, taking their goal tour tally to 18.
Ferguson made full use of the squad at his disposal, using 20 players, but chose to rest David De Gea, Ryan Giggs and Rafael, while striker Javier Hernandez stayed behind at the team hotel after being released from a overnight stay in hospital following mild concussion suffered in training.
United took the lead in the 20th minute, the goal scored by Anderson but created by some impressive build-up play between Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov, who twice exchanged passes before the former provided the telling pass.
Anderson, with a meagre five goals in 129 appearances for United, provided an assured finish, side-footing the ball into the net to open the scoring. Having enjoyed his first injury-free pre-season since joining United, much is expected of Anderson, a player who has so far failed to live up to his potential, ahead of the new campaign.
Yet the stand-out midfielder, certainly in the first-half at least, was Beckham, who showcased his full exquisite repertoire of long-range passing for the 26,760 crowd, a reminder of his enduring class despite him now plying his trade in the relative anonymity of MLS.
On one occasion in the first-half, Beckham dispatched an immaculate 60-yard ball over the top of the United defence to Henry, the elegance and beauty of the pass undeserving of its recipient's failure to convert the goalscoring chance.
Beckham's sporadic flashes of brilliance aside, United were in control from the moment Anderson scored, Ji-Sung Park adding a second right on half-time, twisting and turning past two opponents before steering a crisp left-foot shot into the far corner.
When the teams emerged for the second-half, Beckham and Ferguson greeted each other on the touchline. The United boss put an arm around his former charge and appeared to remind Beckham that he had not lost any of his old magic, the pair dissolving into mutual smiles and laughter.
Anders Lindegaard served notice that he intends to provide a genuine challenge to De Gea's perceived status as United's No.1 with an inspired first-half display, before making way for rookie keeper Ben Amos after the break.
Lindegaard produced two stunning saves in the space of five minutes, first palming away a long-range effort from Beckham, then tipping an equally audacious strike from Brad Davis over the bar with another acrobatic leap and one-handed stop.
It amounted to a third convincing display from Lindegaard on the US tour, the Denmark international's composure, reactions and agility giving Ferguson a genuine selection headache over which keeper should start the new season as United's first-choice.
Phil Jones, United's £16million summer signing from Blackburn, started at right-back but looked more comfortable when moved inside to the more familiar territory of central defence, his natural position and where he will ultimately play long-term.
Berbatov made it 3-0 in the 51st minute with his first goal of the tour, the Bulgarian running on to Rooney's through ball before attempting an elaborate chip which bounced back off the bar. Berbatov chested the rebound down before burying the rebound with a fierce volleyed finish.
Welbeck made it 4-0 in the 68th minute, cutting inside from the left before unleashing a right-foot shot which took a deflection, sending it spinning beyond the reach of MLS All-Stars keeper Tally Hall.
Man Utd (4-4-2): Lindegaard (Amos 46); Jones, Ferdinand (Smalling 61), Vidic (Fabio 73), Evra; Park (Nani 61), Anderson (Diouf 73), Carrick (Cleverley 61), Young (Welbeck 61); Rooney (Macheda 61), Berbatov (Owen 61)