Manchester United tops Revolution 4-1 in friendly
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP)
Something about playing against Major League Soccer brings out the best in Manchester United's Federico Macheda.
The 19-year-old forward scored twice as the Premier League champions opened their preseason with a 4-1 victory over the New England Revolution on Wednesday night. Although sporadically used back at Old Trafford, Macheda is familiar to MLS fans after scoring twice for United in the league's All-Star game last summer.
''You saw Macheda finishing today - first class,'' United manager Alex Ferguson said. ''He is something special. Nineteen years-old - I still have high hopes for him.''
Michael Carrick had a pair of assists and Michael Owen and Park Ji-Sung also scored for Man. U., which gained control of the match after a scoreless first by scoring three goals in 10 minutes in the second.
Kenny Mansally scored for New England to make it 2-1 in the 56th minute, but Macheda made it 3-1 on a behind-the-back pass from Carrick that sent him in all alone on Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.
''After we scored, we found it got a bit easier,'' Macheda said.
The MVP of last summer's MLS All-Star game, Macheda made just one Premier League start in 12 competitive appearances during the first half of the season, then was loaned in January to Sampdoria. He scored just two competitive goals last season, one in the Premier League in November and the other in the Italian Cup in January.
But returning to the United States was just what he needed.
''Seems to be,'' he said. ''I hope to keep it like that.''
Coming off its record 19th English league championship, Man. U. opens its title defense Aug. 14 at West Bromwich Albion.
Playing for the first time since losing 3-1 in the Champions League final to Barcelona on May 28, United started only four players from that lineup and substituted liberally to avoid overtaxing players in their opener. Wayne Rooney came out at halftime, and Ashley Young, who made his United debut after joining the Red Devils from Aston Villa last month for a reported $27 million, left in the 67th minute with a 3-1 lead.
''It's always difficult in your first game,'' said Rooney, who put a header over the crossbar in the 18th minute. ''It's a different pitch to play on. For the first, overall, I was pleased.''
The attendance was announced at 51,523 - the highest-attended club friendly in Gillette Stadium history - though the upper deck was empty and the lower bowl had several pockets of empty seats.
It was 0-0 after 45 minutes - a moral victory for the Revolution, who are in last place in the MLS Eastern Conference.
''Obviously, we were happy with the way things went in the first half,'' said Revolution coach Steve Nicol, who subbed out most of his lineup to rest them for Sunday's game against first-place Philadelphia. ''At the end of the day, they're smarter between the ears.''
Owen scored in the 51st minute to make it 1-0 when he took a leading pass from Carrick at Shuttleworth's right and, just steps away, aimed a low shot just under the goalkeeper's outstretched leg. Just three minutes later, Carrick set up Macheda on a give-and-go that allowed Macheda to get between two New England defenders.
In the 56th minute, New England's Benny Feilhaber was awarded a free kick just outside the penalty area. He aimed his kick to the left of the defensive wall, where it deflected off Mansally and into the net.
Macheda scored again in the 61st minute, converting a crossing pass from Rafael that made it all the way across the goal mouth. United made it 4-1 in the 80th when Gabriel Obertan spent several moments of razzle-dazzle on New England's Zak Boggs, freezing him with fancy footwork before dropping a soft pass to Ryan Giggs.
Giggs touched it toward the net for Park, who waited for Shuttleworth to commit before chipping the ball over him and into the net.
With Edwin van der Sar retired, Anders Lindegaard was in goal rather than David de Gea, signed by United from Atletico Madrid after leading Spain to the title in the European Under-21 Championship.