Philadelphia Union 0 Manchester United 1: Gabriel Obertan strike wins it for Reds

July 22nd, 2010

Danny Welbeck (left) and Gabriel Obertan celebrate the winning goal.

Gabriel Obertan’s first goal for Manchester United gave Sir Alex Ferguson’s side the second win of their tour of North America on a hot and humid night at Lincoln Field.

Obertan failed to find the net in 13 appearances last season following a £3million move from Bordeaux, but produced a cool finish to slip the ball past the Union’s substitute goalkeeper Brian Perk when Danny Welbeck set him up 14 minutes from the end.

It was another satisfying win for Ferguson following Friday’s opener against Celtic in Toronto, and the United boss was particularly happy to see Obertan, 21, off the mark after an injury-hit first season at Old Trafford.

‘Goals always help players of course, and when they are forwards in particular,’ said Ferguson. ‘There is a goal in Gabby, there’s no question of that.

‘The best aspect of his goal was his run, the timing of his run and the timing of the pass and the weight of the pass. It made it a really good goal. He’s taken it well.’

Ferguson made six changes but again started with veterans Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes in a youthful line-up at the home of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, which first opened its doors in 2004 for United’s friendly Barcelona here.

Obertan had the opening chance of the game, again created by Welbeck who crossed to the far post for the Frenchman to volley wide.

Welbeck missed United’s other best opportunity of the first half, controlling Fabio’s low cross from the left and wrongfooting marker Danny Califf in the same movement, before firing straight at keeper Brad Knighton who still did well to save at close-range.

But Ferguson admitted the Union, who are in the middle of their first ever season, were better than he had expected and the Major League Soccer side could have gone ahead themselves when Alejandro Moreno had a clear sight of goal from 10 yards but failed to seriously test Tomasz Kusczak, while college draft pick Danny Mwanga was also proving a handful for the United defence.

Gabriel Obertan scores his first goal for Manchester United.

The Union’s tenacious approach brought an equally robust response from United, and having infuriated midfielder Fred with one challege, Scholes became the only player to be booked on the night when – not for the first time in his career – he was guilty of an awfully late tackle on MLS All-Star  Sebastien Le Toux.

The game was surprisingly quick and fluid considering the swelteringly hot conditions and, having seen Union coach Peter Nowak make seven changes at half-time, it was no surprise when Ferguson made six of his own on the hour mark ans he introduced Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Fletcher.

But it was two of the players who had been on from the start who combined to score the winner in the 76th minute. Welbeck seized on a misplaced pass to surge down the right flank and his ball into the box split three defenders and was weighted perfectly for Obertan.

There was still time for Berbatov to hit the underside of the bar from 15 yards, but the Union could have snatced a draw in the dying moments when Nick Zimmerman skipper past Rafael and crossed for Andrew Jacobson who somehow skied over the bar with Kusczak well beaten.

Ferguson was more than happy with the workout, saying: ‘You need pre-season games, they are absolutely essential. You need them to get your timing and rhythm and your breathing right.

‘It was the sort of game we probably needed. The Union were really powerful and aggressive, got to the ball quickly and made it difficult for us. They were better than I expected.

‘We increased the tempo in the second half and did a little better then. It was a good game for us. They were very good opponents, I thought they did really well.’

                                                                                      Source: daily mail

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