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Live Commentary: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Manchester United

July 16, 2017 1:03 AM
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Live Commentary: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Manchester United

Sports Mole brings you live text coverage of the pre-season friendly between Los Angeles Galaxy and Manchester United at the Stubhub Center.

Right, we're almost ready to go here! The players are out and we're just a couple of minutes away from kickoff at the Stubhub Center as United prepare to get their 2017-18 campaign underway.

United are expected to bring more players in between now and transfer deadline day, with the main talk at the moment regarding a defensive midfielder. Chelsea's Nemanja Matic appears to be at the top of Mourinho's wish list, although Roma's Radja Nainggolan has also been touted as a possible target. These string of matches in the American tour should help Mourinho pinpoint exactly what else he needs before the start of the new season.

United may be hard-pressed to repeat that achievement here today, but first and foremost they will treat this as an opportunity to get back up towards full match fitness. The United fans will probably be most excited to see Lukaku make his debut for the club following his £75m move, which could rise as high as a world-record £90m fee. It is a huge amount of money for a player Mourinho previously deemed not good enough during his time at Chelsea, but it is hard to argue with Lukaku's goalscoring record at just 24 years old.

As previously mentioned, United kicked off their 2014 summer tour of the United States with another match against LA Galaxy, and it couldn't have gone much better on that occasion as they ran out 7-0 winners in Louis van Gaal's first game in charge of the club. Welbeck opened the scoring on that occasion before Rooney, James and Young all helped themselves to braces to complete the rout.

PREDICTION: Right, we're 10 minutes away from kickoff at the Stubhub Center, which means that it is time for a prediction! It is always difficult to make a reasoned guess in pre-season, with United focusing more on fitness whereas LA Galaxy should be at full fitness as they are in the middle of their season. Different teams in both halves make it even tougher to call, but the quality at United's disposal should see them through. We're going for a 3-1 United win.

Before all of that, though, United will be hoping that this pre-season campaign is significantly more successful than last summer's, when they faced an energy-sapping trip to Beijing only to see their friendly against Manchester City rained off. There is very little chance of the same happening in the States, though, and with a relatively new complexion to the United squad following the departures of Rooney and Ibrahimovic, there is an air of optimism amongst supporters that this will be a much better campaign on the whole.

United have been handed a relatively kind start to the new league season on paper, opening their campaign at home to West Ham United and not facing another member of the top six until they take on Liverpool in mid-October. Before then, United will play the Hammers, Swansea, Leicester, Stoke, Everton, Southampton and Crystal Palace in their first seven games, so fans will be hopeful of making a strong start to the campaign.

After that, the Red Devils will travel back to Europe for more friendlies against Valerenga and Sampdoria before the real business gets underway with the European Super Cup against Real Madrid on August 8. United have been in Los Angeles for a week already in the build-up to this match, so that would complete a month-long pre-season campaign which should get them adequately prepared for the start of the new Premier League season.

The ability to turn those draws into wins will be one of the priorities for Mourinho during the upcoming campaign, which officially gets underway today with their opening pre-season match. Today marks the start of a run of five games in 11 days during United's pre-season tour of the United States, with a clash against Real Salt Lake to follow on Monday. During their time in America United will also take part in the International Champions Cup, where they will face Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona over the coming week or so.

Draws were United's main issue as they finished seven points adrift of the top four and 24 behind champions Chelsea last season, with the Red Devils sharing the spoils on a league-high 15 occasions. United were only actually beaten five times - only Spurs lost fewer games - but those 15 draws accounted for 30 dropped points which could have had United up there challenging for the title had they turned the majority of them into wins.

Ultimately, Jose Mourinho's debut campaign at Old Trafford will go down as a successful one as he lifted the League Cup and the Europa League, achieving Champions League qualification through the latter. However, the success of that season rested on the result of that Europa League final and United will not want to leave it so finely balanced this time around. Improvement in the Premier League will be the first thing that is demanded, with United finishing in a lowly sixth place last season.

That 2014 result got Louis van Gaal's reign off to a flying start at United, but it also serves as a warning that even the most impressive of performances tonight does not necessarily mean a bright season ahead of the Red Devils. The 2016-17 campaign was a strange one in many ways for the club, with the fans unhappy for much of the season but United ending it with three trophies to their name, including the Community Shield.

Interestingly, LA Galaxy have the best away record in the MLS while also having the worst home record, which suggests that they can be a very hit and miss team. They are winless in their last six MLS home games and have only won one of nine all season, while in friendlies they have only won one of eight in front of their own fans - the most recent of which was that 7-0 defeat at the hands of United three years ago.

That Salt Lake match was LA Galaxy's most recent home outing, and it is their form at the Stubhub Center which has let them down more than anything else this season. Indeed, the Galaxy have the very worst home record in the entire MLS this season having picked up just six points from their nine games, also conceding a league-high 18 goals in front of their own fans.

This recent slump in form follows a nine-match unbeaten streak which saw Galaxy win five and draw four games, which makes things even more alarming for Onalfo. They are looking to avoid falling to a fourth consecutive defeat for the first time since May 2012, but they have a job on their hands having conceded nine goals in their past two games - including a 6-2 thrashing at the hands of Real Salt Lake.

Galaxy come into this match in particularly poor form having lost four of their last five games, including each of their last three. The only win from their last five outings came against lower-league Sacramento Republic in the US Open Cup - which they were subsequently eliminated from in the quarter-final stage against San Jose Earthquakes on Tuesday.

Also read: Arsene Wenger puts Arsenal stars through their paces ahead of West Ham clash after announcing he will leave the club at the end of the season


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