Hello again. We’re back with more pre-season analysis but slightly earlier than the last time out against Club America, which ended 1-1 and had UK and Irish viewers squinting at their screens until around 5am.
Tonight, we were reduced to another draw but this time scoreless. United didn’t take advantage of San Jose’s woeful defence but the players still got a good run out in humid conditions.
The highlight for us was having Alexis Sanchez back in hunger mode.
Not entirely sure why (ticket prices?) but the attendance at the game was very low. The price of tickets this year was supposed to be more reasonable than last year’s tour, yet it made little impact tonight. Usually, when United are on tour there’s a rush to get tickets and that should be the case next week, when the ICC kicks-off against AC Milan.
Antonio Valencia injured
Jose Mourinho was forced into making his first substitution just seven minutes into the game. Valencia picked up a knock and was replaced by Matteo Darmian at right-back. Obviously, we won’t know how serious the injury is until they run tests, but it was a positive to see the Ecuador international walk off the pitch without assistance.
Injuries are the last thing we need on pre-season tour, when players go out to get as many minutes possible under their belt before the competitive season kicks off. If we start the season without Valencia, which looks unlikely given how he walked freely off the pitch, and Darmian leaves for Italy, there’s a good chance Timothy Fosu-Mensah will get a run in the team. See, we can find the positives behind everything.
Matteo Darmian shaves his woeful sideburns
I apologise advance but this must be a talking point. The Italian modelled the worst pair of sideburns I’ve seen in a United shirt, but it’s a shame that he waited until his imminent departure. Truth be told, there are 12-year-olds out there with better facial hair. Let’s hope they don’t make a return in the next 24 hours.
Back with something to prove
Alexis Sanchez took a little longer than the rest to fly out to America to link-up with the squad due to visa issues, but as we broke on Stretty News early on Sunday afternoon, he started the game against San Jose. From kick-off he looked keen, pulling off breath-taking flicks, tracking back to help out defensively, and driving forward whenever possible. He was United’s biggest threat until substituted five minutes after the hour mark.
That’s one way to stop @Alexis_Sanchez when he’s in full flight…
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) 22 July 2018
Heroics from Lee Grant
Grant came in as probably the least exciting signing in what has so far been an underwhelming transfer window for the Reds, but in his two pre-season performances has looked very good without conceding a goal. The former Stoke City shot-stopper showed goalkeeping excellence after coming on at half-time and he already has lots of fans eating their words. As a third-choice keeper, I couldn’t be happier for the lad. Welcome to United.