Real Salt Lake vs Man Utd: Preseason Scout Report

Real Salt Lake vs Man Utd: Match outlook

Real Salt Lake welcome Manchester United to Rio Tinto Stadium on Monday night for the Red Devils’ second game of their US tour. The game kicks off at 8pm local time, which will be 3am in the UK.

It will be the Premier League giants’ first ever game in Utah. And comes off the back of Saturday’s convincing 5-2 win over LA Galaxy at StubHub Center.

Big-money signings Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelof made their unofficial debuts for Man Utd at the weekend. Lukaku didn’t get on the scoresheet but the £75m signing will no doubt be planning to find the net against RSL.

Mourinho has said he will once again field two different sides in each half of Monday night’s game. United still have five games to play after their clash with RSL, including friendlies against Man City and Real Madrid before the end of the week.

Real Salt Lake have had a tough MLS campaign so far this season. They are currently at the halfway stage but their hopes of making the playoffs look slim.

But Monday’s friendly gives the team the chance to put aside their league form and enjoy playing against some of the world’s top players.

MLS veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando can’t wait to be tested by the likes of Lukaku and Marcus Rashford.

“I think the city deserves a team like Manchester United come here. The fans deserve it,” he said.

“For me to be able to play against such great players is exciting for sure. They have huge players and to step onto the field with them is going to be great.”

Real Salt Lake vs Man Utd: RSL scout report

Real Salt Lake’s league form has been poor in 2017. They’ve taken 20 points from 20 games and sit ninth in the Western Conference. They are only two points off the bottom and four points adrift of the playoff places at the midway point.

They have the joint-worst goal difference in MLS this season and have lost as many home games as they have won this term. That will give Manchester United hope of bettering their result from the LA Galaxy game on Saturday.

Interestingly though, RSL did run out 6-2 winners at LA Galaxy in their latest outing before the MLS Gold Cup break set in two weeks ago. So they have proven they can be a really dangerous attacking outfit. The problem is they can’t seem to keep goals out.

Head coach Mike Petke will undoubtedly be looking ahead to Wednesday night’s MLS battle with the Portland Timbers. He will likely give plenty of fringe players a chance to impress against United on Monday night, and is unlikely to play anyone for more than 45 minutes.

Real Salt Lake vs Man Utd: Man Utd scout report

Manchester United got their US tour off to the perfect start with that 5-2 win at the Galaxy on Saturday. Mourinho rotated his squad and experimented with three at the back.

He has admitted the team will return to a tradition four-man defence at Rio Tinto Stadium, but 22 players are likely to feature as he continues to test things ahead of the 2017/18 Premier League season, which is now just 25 days away.

Lukaku will be looking to score his first United goal following his £75m move to the Red Devils last week. He could be handed a start here, and will look to do better than he did in LA on Saturday.

Man Utd are expected to cruise to victory, given the quality they have throughout the squad. But RSL will offer an attacking threat, which United will look to contain after conceding two late goals against the Galaxy.


Preseason performances raise hope for Manchester United and Liverpool

By Stuart Howard-Cofield

Two of the main contenders for the top four positions in the English Premier League, Manchester United and Liverpool, have recorded relatively impressive results in their preseason tours. After a couple of major signings this summer, both sides will be pleased with how preparations have gone during tours across the globe before the new campaign kicks off.

Louis Van Gaal’s team began their tour on a positive note by defeating Club America by a lone goal. Thereafter, they defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1. Barcelona, the current Champions League title holders were also beaten by the same margin.

Manchester United’s preseason tour results have shown that one of their new arrivals, Memphis Depay can connect very well with the veteran centre forward, Wayne Rooney. According to a recent analysis of The Red Devils’ tour performance published in the Telegraph, United’s defensive line has now become more secure with Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian putting up impressive performances so far.

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Without any major injury cases to worry about at this time, Louis Van Gaal simply needs to find a good backup for Wayne Rooney. Unfortunately, Rooney is the only experienced centre forward in the team. Bastian Schweinsteiger, the European Champions Cup and World Cup winner displayed a stellar performance in midfield during the tour and looks an excellent addition. But United must not take the same risk they took in the 2014/15 season, as a bad start eventually cost them the league title by some margin.

Manchester United must do everything possible to win their first ten games if they want to clinch the league title and steal a march on their rivals. All eyes will be on Schweinsteiger and Rooney as they strive to pump in the goals in the first few games. is offering Premier League tickets for sale including the match between United and their fierce rivals Liverpool as they battle for the UEFA Champions League slots.

Liverpool fans should also be excited their tour as they’ve gone unbeaten through preseason. They defeated three of their opponents including the Thailand All-Stars, Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United. They were then held to a 1-1 draw with Malaysia XI and have since beaten HJK and Swindon Town. Although some commentators have said that none of their opponents were strong enough to match the stiff opposition they will face in the Premier League, Liverpool have shown that they are serious about finishing among the top four in the new season after last year’s disappointment.

Liverpool have made so many new signings this summer in a bid to revive the game plan of Brendan Rodgers which enabled them to get very close to taking the league title in the 2013/14 season. Christian Benteke is a star signing, while James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne add drive to the attack from deeper. Roberto Firmino, who left Hoffenheim to join Liverpool, should be able to use his experience in the Bundesliga to create plenty of chances for his teammates.

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However, Rodgers needs to address the weaknesses in the centre of defence and settle down with a stable playing pattern in order to get the best out of the new signings. Benteke and Firmino did not travel on tour with the Reds so it’s difficult to give an objective assessment of how well they will fit into the team but both will be expected to be regular starters in a new-look Liverpool lineup.

Both Manchester United and Liverpool must ensure that they can decide their best starting lineups early as both will look to be at their best to win most of their matches and remain unbeaten for as many games as possible when the new season starts on Saturday.

What should AFC Bournemouth expect in friendly against Philadelphia Union?

Premier League newcomers AFC Bournemouth play their first preseason game on Tuesday night as Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union will play host to the Cherries at PPL Park in what should be an intriguing game.

Bournemouth won the Championship with relative ease last season and so Eddie Howe‘s side fully deserve their place in the top flight of English football. But they know it will be a tough season and so their preseason preparations must be executed perfectly.

A trip to the United States to face the Union will improve team spirit and will help the new signings gel with their teammates before they play their first game together on Tuesday night in what will be a real test.


The fact that Philadelphia are in the middle of their domestic campaign will help them as fitness levels will be at the perfect level, whereas Eddie Howe’s squad have not played a game for over two months.

Preseason is all about improving match fitness but the Cherries may suffer against physically more equipped opponents at this stage of their summer.

As well as fitness, Bournemouth will be looking for a positive result and there is no doubt that returning to England with a win will be the aim here.

Many Bournemouth fans, and perhaps players too will likely be surprised by the quality of play that the Union will be able to demonstrate. Major League Soccer has improved dramatically each year and teams are now in a position to give even the strongest Premier League sides a test.


Philadelphia are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference and sit 16th in the overall MLS standings. It’s not been a perfect season by any stretch for Jim Curtin’s side but they haven’t lost in three and beat Portland Timbers 3-0 at home on Saturday night – a game the Bournemouth players watched from inside the owner’s box at PPL Park.

Five of their six wins this season have come at PPL Park and they are always better in front of their owns fans.

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Philly lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace in a friendly last July and will be looking to put in a better performance this time around against the Premier League newboys.

Over 15,000 fans turned out to watch the game against Palace last year and so another good atmosphere is to be expected for Tuesday night’s game.


Jim Curtin will no doubt be prioritising Saturday night’s game against Toronto FC and so star players will not feature for more than 45 minutes on Tuesday. But a strong team is to be expected as Philadelphia will likely line up in their familiar 4-2-3-1 formation – a system Bournemouth will come up against numerous times in the Premier League this year.

Maurice Edu has made more starts than any other Philadelphia player this season and the versatile American will likely continue in defence for the visit of AFC Bournemouth.

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At the other end, CJ Sapong and Cristian Maidana will need to be watched closely. Sapong has five goals and two assists in his last nine games, while Maidana assisted all three goals in the win over Portland on Saturday.

Eddie Howe will likely opt to start with the 4-4-2 system that worked so well last term and new signings Sylvain Distin, Christian Atsu, Tyrone Mings and Joshua King will all expect to feature.

What do you think the score will be in Tuesday night’s friendly?

Seattle Sounders head coach Schmid hails “sublime” Martins and Dempsey

Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid has talked up the ability of strike partners Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey following their 6-0 preseason win over FC Tucson on Wednesday.

Dempsey bagged himself two goals in an emphatic performance, and although fellow forward Martins wasn’t on the scoresheet, he did play a hand in the first two goals, which has pleased Schmid.

“Some of the combinations, the goal where they combined on the 2nd goal, as a coach you just sit there and what do you say?” Schmid said while talking to the Seattle Sounders YouTube channel.

“I can’t teach that, we can’t diagram that and show them that. That’s just their instincts. And their ability to play off of each other is just so sublime.”

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The lethal partnership contributed an astonishing 55 goals between them via goals scored and goals assisted in the 2014 regular season and it looks as though they mean business again in 2015.

“I was happy for Clint, happy for the goals that he got because as a goalscorer you always want to get your confidence there. Oba (Martins) will be back on the board as well sometime soon,” Schmid added.

Lamar Neagle and Kevin Parsemain also both helped themselves to two goals each on the night.

How important will Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins be for Seattle Sounders in 2015?

Columbus Crew and Montreal Impact record enormous preseason wins

The Columbus Crew and the Montreal Impact got the biggest day of the MLS preseason underway in fine style as they won 7-0 and 6-0 respectively.

A total of 12 MLS sides are in action on Wednesday as the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic and Desert Diamond Cups get underway.

The Montreal Impact played their second game against Mexican opposition in as many days in the days early kickoff and they put in a fine display to win 6-0 against FC Cuautla in their final friendly before next week’s CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final clash with Liga MX side Pachuca.

Jack McInerney, who was sent off in yesterday’s 1-0 win against Cruz Azul, opened the scoring from the penalty spot before Blake Smith added a second just before halftime.

Cameron Porter came on at halftime and the 21-year-old third round MLS SuperDraft pick bagged himself a hat-trick, while McInerney added his second of the game to seal a comfortable 6-0 win against the Mexican third division side.

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Columbus Crew got the first game of the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic underway against London United and were also in a goalscoring mood as they found the net seven times.

New signing Kei Kamara opened the scoring in just the third minute before Ethan Finlay scored a second on 19 minutes. Finlay then turned provider as he teed up new right-back Hernan Grana to make it three before Grana then grabbed an assist for Kamara’s second of the game, making it 4-0 after just half an hour.

Columbus weren’t prepared to see out the half four up though and added two more as Grana made it five with his second of the game from defence before he got his second assist of the game by setting up new left-back Chris Klute on the stroke of halftime, making it 6-0 at the break.

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Crew SC weren’t as devastating in the second-half but still added one more through second-round draft pick Sagi Lev-Ari in the final ten minutes. Lev-Ari was making his preseason debut for the Black and Gold but is not yet registered on the club’s roster for the 2015 season.

Kei Kamara may have bagged two but it was fellow new boy Hernan Grana who impressed most as he registered two goals and two assists from right-back in an impressive attacking display.

Both the Montreal Impact and Columbus Crew have lost just once this preseason and will be hoping they can take their goalscoring form from today’s friendlies into the new 2015 MLS season in the Eastern Conference.

Montreal Impact beat Cruz Azul in drama-filled friendly

The Montreal Impact beat current Liga MX leaders Cruz Azul 1-0 in a dramatic friendly on Tuesday afternoon ahead of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal showdown with Pachuca next week.

New arrival Dominic Oduro scored the only goal of the game for the Impact inside five minutes but Frank Klopas watched his side concede two penalties and have a man sent off before the final whistle.

Cruz Azul were awarded the first of their two penalties after half an hour but Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush saved the spot kick to keep the Canadian-based MLS side in the lead at halftime.

The drama increased in the second-half as Justin Mapp hit the post for the Impact before Jack McInerney and a Cruz Azul player were both sent off on 75 minutes.

Five minutes after the double sending off, the Mexican side were awarded their second penalty of the game but missed again as the post came to Montreal’s rescue.

The Impact held on to record their second win of preseason and now prepare to face another Liga MX side in Pachuca in their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal next Tuesday.

The first-leg of that tie will be played in Mexico before the return leg in Montreal the following Tuesday, just three days before the 2015 MLS season is set to kick off.

Real Salt Lake receive double boost ahead of Desert Diamond Cup

By Keave Tollington

With the MLS preseason heading into its final stretch, the next few weeks will be crucial for every single player as they fight to impress in games where risks can afford to be taken.

Real Salt Lake headed down to Tucson today, boosted by the return of Luis Gil and Nick Rimando. Both joined up with the rest of the squad after spending the past month in Jurgen Klinsmann’s January camp coming off two matches with the USMNT. Rimando played in both matches against Chile and Panama while Gil saw his second cap in a short appearance against Panama last Sunday.

The return of 2014 shutout star, Rimando, is expected to provide the boost that RSL need to continue their successful preseason campaign so far.

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This Wednesday (February 18th) sees the start of the annual Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Arizona, involving FC Tucson and 5 MLS teams. Real Salt Lake, Sporting Kansas City, New England Revolution, Seattle Sounders, and Colorado Rapids all take part this year.

The tournament will last 10 Days with each team playing 4 games in total. The competition aims to boost excitement for the new season, which commences just 7 days after its completion.

So far this preseason, Real Salt Lake have managed to beat UC Irvine and OC Blues in California. In those games head coach Jeff Cassar had the opportunity to see how the new signings gelled with a long list of returning players.

With the Desert Diamond Cup he can do the same but against MLS clubs, giving the fans a more clear vision into just how prepared RSL are for the 2015 MLS campaign.

FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup

These games are a bit more than just preseason friendlies for Cassar. It is not only an opportunity to win a trophy (however insignificant the title really is) but it’s also a pivotal time for him to see where play needs tweaking and he can allow the players to grasp new ideas before the start of the season.

Camp has been extremely positive for everyone at RSL so far and they meet 2014 MLS Cup runners-up, New England Revolution on Wednesday for a fixture that is likely to have more structure in terms of players than the two previous friendlies.

The Revs beat RSL 2-1 in a scrimmage game two weeks ago in both side’s first games of preseason but the meeting in the Desert Diamond Cup on Wednesday will be a lot more intense.

Real Salt Lake will now be moving into practicing more defined sets of plays, formations and starting lineups as the MLS season rapidly approaches.

Real Salt Lake’s upcoming friendlies:

Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution – Wednesday, February 18th

Real Salt Lake vs. FC Tucson – Saturday, February 21st

Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas – Wednesday, February 25th

Real Salt Lake vs. TBD – Saturday, February 28th

How will Real Salt Lake fare in 2015?

New York City FC dealt first loss by Brondby in Manchester

New York City FC suffered their first defeat of preseason as they were beaten 2-0 by Danish club Brondby IF in Manchester earlier today.

The MLS expansion franchise had won both of their previous two games against Jacksonville Armada and St Mirren last Tuesday. The game against St Mirren was also played in Manchester but NYCFC now return to America to take part in the Carolina Challenge Cup.

Goals from Martin Ornskov and Ferhan Hasani in either half were enough for Brondby to seal the win as New York City lacked that killer instinct in the final third.

Mistakes cost NYCFC as Mix Diskerud was at fault for the first goal and poor defensive play allowed Hasani to slot in the second goal unchallenged.

David Villa in action for New York City FC against Brondby (via

David Villa in action for New York City FC against Brondby (via

But head coach Jason Kreis remained positive after the game despite suffering his first loss in charge of NYCFC.

“We would have loved to have a better performance in our back pocket going home, but in some ways we needed some negativity as well.

“It was going to be a difficult opponent for us, as we said. The majority of our problems came from ourselves. In the second half we made a really bad mental error to let da Silva drift all the way across the field for that goal.

“We know there is a lot of work to be done.”

New York City’s next game will be against fellow expansion side Orlando City in the Carolina Challenge Cup and they open the 2015 season against the same opponent.

The full game can be watched below via NYCFC on YouTube:

Cardiff City’s Danny Gabbidon plays for Chicago Fire in preseason win

Cardiff City defender and defensive coach Danny Gabbidon played for the Chicago Fire in today’s 1-0 preseason win against Queens Park Rangers in London.

Gabbidon is currently under contract with Cardiff until the end of the season in a player/coach role but that didn’t stop him from getting some first-team action under his belt with the Chicago squad in their second preseason outing in England.

Head coach Frank Yallop watched his squad draw 0-0 with Norwich City last week and today’s 1-0 victory against QPR is another positive step as the Eastern Conference side prepare for the new MLS campaign that gets underway in less than a month.

Gabbidon played the entire second-half against QPR at the Premier League club’s training ground and the experienced Welsh centre-back helped the Fire to a valuable clean-sheet.

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“I’ve known Danny and been in contact with him for a long time,” Frank Yallop told MLSGB after today’s game. “He’s a nice kid. He’s toward the end of his career but he’s very fit and very experienced.

“I thought it would be nice to get a look at him here and see how he gets on. It’s just an option for having him back. He’s still under contract but Cardiff allowed him to come down and train.”

Gabbidon has only seen one minute of league action for Cardiff in the Championship this season after returning to the club he played for from 2000-2005.

With his current deal set to expire in the summer he could be an option for the Chicago Fire at the midpoint of the 2015 season but that remains to be seen.

Chicago Fire end UK tour with 1-0 win against QPR in London

The Chicago Fire sealed an impressive victory against a Queens Park Rangers side that featured six recognised first-team players at the Premier League club’s Imperial College Sports Ground in London on Thursday afternoon.

Quincy Amarikwa scored what proved to be the winning goal in the 15th minute as he managed to get on the end of a Harry Shipp pass and netted the Fire’s first goal of preseason.

That goal was enough to seal victory as the Men In Red remained solid at the back yet again to give them a second clean-sheet in a week following last Thursday’s 0-0 draw with Norwich City.

Head coach Frank Yallop used 21 players during the game with Jeff Larentowicz returning to captain the side in midfield and he has been pleased by what he’s saw from his players over the past couple of weeks.

“It’s a big thing for the first leg of the preseason,” Yallop said after the game. “For sure it’s fitness and getting up to soccer speed, if you like, making sure guys will be ready to play 90 minutes when asked. That was the main thing about this.

“We’re honing down the system and the philosophy. It’s been great, we’re playing at a really high level, we’re tough to break down and beat.

“We played two games against two pretty good sides, and I know it’s early and you probably heard me say the same thing last year, but we’re making teams earn their chances which is important right now.”

WATCH: Highlights of the game courtesy of Mail Online:

Six recognised QPR first-team players took to the field against the Fire with Alex McCarthy, Armand Traore, Eduardo Vargas, Adel Taarabt, Mauro Zarate and Sandro all seeing at least 45 minutes of action.

Chicago have started their preseason campaign well and they now head home before travelling to Portland for the 2015 Simple Invitational where they will face the Portland Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps and Norwegian club Stebaek.

How well will the Chicago Fire do in 2015?