Philadelphia, Pa. (July 21, 2010) – In the second match of Manchester United’s U.S. tour, a 76th minute goal from Gabriel Obertan against Philadelphia Union’s second team gave the Red Devils a 1-0 win over the home side at Lincoln Financial Field. The Union put forth a valiant effort in defeat, controlling much of the match in the first half, but were ultimately unable to find the back of the net.
Manchester United had the first scoring opportunity of the night, but Obertan missed the net on a one-touch volley off of a Danny Welbeck cross from the endline.
In the 11th minute, the Union nearly struck early after Danny Mwanga’s cross from the right flank found Alejandro Moreno in the middle of the box 14 yards out, but the striker’s attempt lacked pace and was saved easily by United goalkeeper Tomasz Kusczak.
In the 17th minute, Eduardo Coudet’s cross into the box for a streaking Sebastien Le Toux was nearly deflected on net from a very dangerous position, but the Union’s leading scorer wasn’t able to get enough contact to redirect the ball with authority.
The Union continued to control possession for much of the first half, with two good chances coming 10 minutes before the break. After Le Toux squared at the top of the box and had his shot deflected in the 33rd minute, the Frenchman created a scoring opportunity for Moreno just a minute later. Le Toux chested the ball down to Moreno, who had a crack from the edge of the area, but his attempt was also deflected.
Manchester United had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 36th minute when Welbeck found the ball at his feet from 12 yards out, but the striker’s blast on net was stopped by a diving Brad Knighton to keep the score level at 0-0.
In the 42nd minute, the Union came inches away from taking the lead. Off a two-on-one rush, Mwanga slid a ball through to Le Toux in the box to the left of the net, but Le Toux’s low, angled shot narrowly missed the far post.
After the break, Manchester United nearly struck in the 49th minute after Obertan crossed for Macheda in the area, but the ball sailed just over the midfielder’s head.
Two minutes later, Jack McInerney came inches away from giving the Union a go-ahead goal after a through ball from Mwanga, but the 17-year-old phenom’s low strike just missed the far post, the second time the Union suffered a similar fate.
In the 69th minute, Kyle Nakazawa struck a powerful free kick from 40 yards out that found its way through traffic and nearly into the goal, but Kusczak was able to block it just in time. Orozco Fiscal had an opportunity off the rebound, but the bouncing ball was just out of the defender’s reach.
Manchester United would find their go-ahead, and ultimately game-winning, goal in the 76th minute after a giveaway by Amobi Okugo in the midfield. Welbeck collected the loose ball, dribbled to the edge of the area and found a streaking Obertan, who took one touch and calmly passed goalkeeper Brian Perk with his right foot to put the Red Devils up 1-0.
United nearly took a 2-0 lead minutes later, but Dimitar Berbatov’s spinning blast from 12 yards out hit the crossbar, keeping the score 1-0 in favor of the visiting side.
The Union had one final chance to equalize in the 89th minute when Nick Zimmerman slid a cross through the box to an onrushing Andrew Jacobson, but the midfielder's diving attempt popped over the net.
Despite the loss, Philadelphia impressively outplayed the visitors for large stretches, but their inability to finish ultimately cost them a chance to pull off a monumental upset. The Union have the weekend off from MLS action, but will take to the pitch Tuesday against the Harrisburg City Islanders before taking on the New England Revolution at PPL Park July 31.
Man Utd -- Gabriel Obertan (Danny Welbeck) 76’