Manchester United continued their tour of the United States on Tuesday with a 3-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes after goals by Juan Mata, Memphis Depay and Andreas Pereira. But even though the team has won two straight games, manager Louis van Gaal was not happy with the display in the second half against the Earthquakes.
Just like in the first game against Club America in Seattle, United switched out most of the team in halftime, with goalkeeper Sam Johnstone the lone player left from the starting 11. United played well in the first half as Mata and Depay scored. The Earthquakes got one back before halftime, and in the second half Pereira scored to make it 3-1.
Van Gaal was pretty straight forward as he met with the media after the win.
“The first half I was satisfied,” the boss told reporters. “The players have performed what we wanted in the defensive organisation and they have created a lot of chances and they scored two goals so I was satisfied. You can always be better but I was satisfied,” said van Gaal. “In the second half, we played very badly, with a lot of ball losses, and the only highlight was the goal from Pereira. We did not give many chances away but we gave possibilities away. There was always a threat and that was not necessary. Our positions in midfield were not as good as the first half.”
He was asked about Bastian Schweinsteiger’s performance, as he was one of the players that came in after halftime, and van Gaal said that Schweinsteiger was bad, but that he only has had a couple of days training with his new teammates.
“He was also bad. There was one highlight, I think, and that was Pereira. But players can play badly, certainly when you have only three days or six days of training sessions in your legs, and you have to play 45 minutes,” said van Gaal. “Everybody can think it is easy to step in but it is not easy. In the first match, he [Schweinsteiger] played very well and now he played badly. That is also a process, certainly when you’ve only had one week of training.”
United did look good in the opening 45 minutes, with Luke Shaw being one of the players that stood out. The left back battled injuries last season, but looked fit and played well both in the defensive end and going forward and combining with Ashley Young on the left flank. Shaw showed the soccer world during his time in Southampton that when he’s healthy and in form that he’s the best left back in the country.
Depay, who played just behind Wayne Rooney in attack, scored his first goal for United after capitalizing on some poor passing by San Jose around the penalty box. He showed great composure in placing the ball into the back of the net. He still needs to adjust on the defensive end, as we saw Rooney directing him on where to be when the team was pressing when San Jose had the ball.
Rooney drew the biggest roar from the sold out crowd at Avaya Stadium in San Jose as the lineups were called. He had a couple of scoring chances and had some nice passes, but it was a forgettable night overall for the captain.
Mata was really good out on the right side, and created several chances in addition to his goal. He has the ability to dribble past a couple of defenders and still come out with the ball when challenged.
The second half was pretty pedestrian, with San Jose seeing more of the ball. Pereira scored with a nice header, but that was the only highlight of the closing 45 minutes.
United will have a couple of days to prepare for the game against Barcelona on Saturday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. Van Gaal mentioned that he will not switch out the whole team at halftime, and that several players will play at least 60 minutes as his search for a starting 11 continues.