Union Hang with United in 1-0 Loss
PHILADELPHIA — Manchester United slipped by the Philadelphia Union, 1-0, in the first match against an MLS opponent on their North American tour. United's Gabriel Obertan netted the winner in the 76th minute.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were frustrated for most of the match as the Union played aggressive, determined soccer to keep the 18-time English champions under wraps.
But the quality of the Red Devils shone through despite battling the Union’s midseason fitness, and they were able to peg back the home side thanks to a well-worked goal from French winger Obertan.
Having worked with speedy English forward Danny Welbeck all game, the two combined for the game-winner. Streaking down the right side of the pitch, Welbeck was able to get slightly inside his man and put a clever ground pass between two Union defenders to play Obertan in on net.
That was all the 21-year-old needed as he coolly slotted it by second-half substitute ‘keeper Brian Perk.
Philadelphia certainly had their chances and stretched United on numerous occasions, particularly in the first half when they had their starters in, but they weren’t able to break down the well-organized Red Devil defense enough to see them get on the board.
The first half arguably belonged to the Union as they fielded most of their first XI, and they looked strong in working the ball around the Red Devils and showing their intentions for the match.
Things changed in the second 45 minutes as Union Team Manager Peter Nowak opted to drastically alter his team by bringing on seven fresh, youthful faces. Ferguson countered by putting the likes of Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Fletcher in the game.
Bulgarian international Berbatov could have doubled the score shortly after coming on, but his shot caromed off the bar. Upon first look it seemed as though the ball crossed the goal line as it hit the ground, but replays showed it stayed pitch-side.
To the Union's credit, 17-year-old Jack McInerney came close when he stroked the ball inches wide in the second half, while another rookie, Danny Mwanga, had chances early in the first half.