Fri, Jul 25, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Manchester United thrash Galaxy on Van Gaal debut

AFP and AP, PASADENA, California, and BOSTON

Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa, left, shoots past Oscar Sorto of the Los Angeles Galaxy in the second half of their international friendly match in Pasadena, California, on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

Louis van Gaal’s reign as manager of Manchester United got off to a rousing start on Wednesday with a 7-0 friendly victory over Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy.

In the first match of Van Gaal’s tenure, Wayne Rooney scored twice in the first half, converting a penalty in the 42nd minute after Galaxy midfielder A.J. Delagarza handled a cross from Antonio Valencia.

Three minutes later, Los Angeles defender Tommy Meyer failed to intercept Danny Welbeck’s cross, giving Rooney another chance to beat Jaime Penedo.

Welbeck had opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a long-range strike that crashed in off the post.

Youngster Reece James, 20, and Ashley Young added two goals apiece in the second half as the English Premier League club romped in the first match of their North American pre-season tour.

Van Gaal was tapped two months ago to replace the sacked David Moyes, but took the reins only after guiding the Netherlands to a third-place finish at the FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil.

The 62-year-old Dutchman is tasked with restoring United to their position as the Premier League’s preeminent force.

He faces a big rebuilding project after United endured a miserable campaign under Sir Alex Ferguson’s hand-picked successor Moyes, finishing seventh in the Premier League and failing to qualify for the UEFA Champions League.

One of Van Gaal’s tasks will be selecting a new captain after Nemanja Vidic’s departure for Italy’s Inter.

Although Rooney and Robin van Persie have been said to be among the top contenders for the job, on Wednesday the armband went to Scotland’s Darren Fletcher, although Van Gaal has said he will not rush to decide who gets the role on a full-time basis.

While Van Gaal has expressed doubts that a North American tour of more than two weeks is the best way to prepare for the Premier League season, there was no question that California fans were thrilled to get a chance to see Manchester United in action.

The picturesque Rose Bowl, site of the 1994 FIFA World Cup final, drew a crowd of 86,432 and was awash in red.

The match against the Galaxy was a curtain-raiser to the the International Champions Cup, a collection of pre-season matches featuring eight European clubs all preparing for the start of their domestic campaigns.

Manchester United play AS Roma tomorrow in Denver, Colorado, meet Inter on Tuesday next week in Washington and face Real Madrid the following Saturday in suburban Detroit where a soldout Michigan Stadium crowd is likely to number about 110,000 — projected to be the largest US crowd ever for the sport.

In another pre-season friendly on Wednesday, Marco Borriello scored in the 90th minute to give AS Roma a 1-0 victory over Liverpool at Fenway Park in Boston.

There were limited chances until Borriello volleyed in a corner from in front of goal.

For the second time in three years, Fenway, the home of the Boston Red Sox, was transformed into the home of Liverpool, who are owned by Fenway Sports Group. John Henry, owner of the Red Sox, is also the controlling partner of Fenway Sports Group.

Roma beat Liverpool 2-1 at Fenway two years ago.

Roma goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski made a diving save near the post from Rickie Lambert’s long-range shot from just outside the penalty area in the 57th minute.

Roma seemed to have the territorial edge in the first half and Liverpool a slight edge in the second in a match that had just a handful of shots on goal.

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