Friday 20 July 2018

Tour 2018 match report: Club America 1-1 United

Juan Mata's second half header ensured that the depleted Reds opening match of our US Tour ended all square after Henry Martin had put the Mexican side ahead in Phoenix Arizona.
Lee Grant enjoyed an impressive debut in goal for Jose's United, but with all of the World Cup stars missing, the 35-year-old was by far the oldest player in an otherwise youthful-looking XI. United started strongly, and went close early on through Anthony Martial - left out of the victorious France squad - as he flashed a shot narrowly over the bar in the twelfth minute after neat link-up play with Ander Herrera.

Moments later, the woodwork came to Club America's rescue as Mata made space inside the box and let fly through a posse of players, only for his effort bounce away to safety off a post. Agustin Marchesin saved well from Martial, before Grant was called into action for the first time at the other end to deny Club America right-back Paul Aguilar. The Mexican side were growing in confidence and Grant soon made another top stop, this time from Roger Martinez, before he then did well to claim the loose ball ahead of the onrushing forward Martin.

Joel Pereira and Timothy Fosu - Mensah both came on for the second half, but both were powerless to prevent Martin's header as he nipped in to nod home a fine cross from substitute Antonio Lopez on the hour mark. Luke Shaw - yet to score a senior goal - almost equalised instantly as he flashed an effort across goal, and Scott McTominay fired wide from distance on 68 minutes. A flurry of changes from both sides followed, including the introduction of 16-year-old Mason Greenwood, who joined Grant and 18-year-old Tahith Chong in making their first team bows. Chong looked hugely impressive during his half an hour in Red, and it was the exciting young Dutchman who set up the equaliser twelve minutes from the end.

Herrera was at the back post to meet Chong's whipped inswinging delivery, but his header rebounded back off the upright and fell to Mata who volleyed in through the legs of substitute stopper Oscar Jimenez from close range. The keeper then saved well to deny Greenwood his big moment, as he reacted well to beat away the teenager's strike from distance.

That proved to be the last action of a promising first run out for the Reds, who travel to Santa Clara to face San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday.

United: Grant (J.Pereira 46); Valencia (Fosu - Mensah 46), Bailly, Smalling, Shaw (Greenwood 76); Herrera, McTominay (Tuanzebe 87); A.Pereira, Mata (Gomes 87), Mitchell (Darmian 61); Martial (Chong 61).

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