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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Philadelphia Union Vs Manchester United: Pre-view

Although its more than 30 hours for the kick-off to United’s second match of the North American tour, against the Philadelphia Union, the pre-view has been scripted as is customary for such a write-up to occur a calendar day before the fixture.

United come into this match with a rather clinical 3-1 defeat of the Celtic. With 18 of the 22 member squad featuring in that match, the Gaffer made his intentions clear in no uncertain terms. A pre-season tour is, well, just that, a pre-season tour. The singular purpose is to make sure that every player gets footballing minutes under his belt. It is with this very notion that Ben Amos is claiming his bite of the cherry. And in the opinion of the writer of this pre-view, he will get his chance, in all probabilities. Despite being treated to a nice performance, the 40,000 odd crowd at the Roger’s center in Toronto, and many more catching the action on TV (or the internet), were not pleased with Nani’s absence. Going by a report on manutd.com, there will be a swing in the fans’ fortunes and we might see him in action. Apart from these two changes, the line-up will be pretty much the same, as will be the number of substitutions.

On the contrary, the Philadelphia Union are taking this match more seriously than a mere pre-season friendly, and quite understandably so. This is a club that finished second from the bottom among the eight teams in the eastern conference. And if you consider all of the 16 teams in the Major League Soccer, only D.C. United have scored fewer points than them. They face United after salvaging some of their pride with a 1-0 win over Celtic.
Ahead of the match, on the Philadelphia Union’s website, their manager Peter Nowak said. “These are big stars with big paychecks, but they’re the same players like we are. … I think it will be a special game for us. The players are very excited.” Agreed it’s a big game and agreed that the players are excited to be playing alongside some of the biggest stars, but to say that United players are bigger stars because of the their bigger paychecks is going a little overboard. We will only presume that Mr. Nowak was trying to ease some of the pressure that is associated with taking the bull, or rather the devil, by its horn. There is, however, one “star” among their ranks, Sebastien Le Toux. A mid-fielder, he has made it to the 23 -Man All Star squad and so, should be the one to watch out for.

All in all, there should be a lots of goals scored, though it’s expected to be one way traffic. The excitement of Union players pitted against their idols will make for a great spectacle and will be a great test of character and skill for the less famous players across the pond. The match will take place at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, USA on Wednesday, July 21, 2010. Kickoff is scheduled for 19:30 EST local time in Philadelphia, 00:30 GMT early morning, on Thursday.

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