There is very little rest for the wicked, it seems. There’s definitely been almost none for Louis Van Gaal who, less than two weeks on since his Holland side dismantled Brazil 3-0 in the World Cup third spot playoff, will take charge of his first ever game as Manchester United manager tomorrow morning at 4.10am UK time when the Reds take on Los Angeles Galaxy.
The game at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl – the same ground that hosted the 1994 World Cup final – is the first friendly of United’s US tour, which will also see them facing Roma, Inter Milan and Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup over the next eight days.
Pre-season friendlies are to be taken with a pinch salt – United managed to look decent during their Far East tour that signaled the start of the David Moyes era last summer – but after having to wait two months for Van Gaal to be officially unveiled as United manager, Reds could be forgiven for getting a tad excited ahead of tomorrow.
While United are still in the hunt for a couple of more signings between now and the end of the transfer window, United fans could catch a first glimpse of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera in a red shirt, with both new signings expected to start tomorrow morning, as the Van Gaal era officially kicks off.
United team news
Van Gaal has given Robin Van Persie, Adnan Januzaj and Marouane Fellaini an extended break after their World Cup campaign and has taken a rather fresh-looking squad to the US, with Jesse Lingard, Michael Keane and Reece James likely to be given the opportunity to impress, while most of the senior players are expected to be involved.
As previously mentioned Herrera and Shaw could make their debuts, while Van Gaal is likely to keep a close eye on Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Ashley Young and Tom Cleverley, as the Dutchman has stressed he’s keen to assess his options ahead of the start of the season. Michael Carrick misses out through injury.
LA Galaxy team news
The Galaxy are likely to be much fitter and sharper tomorrow morning, given they not only are familiar with the weather conditions, but they’ve also already played 17 league games this season, which could given them a rather tangible advantage.
Bruce Arena’s men are currently fourth in the Western Conference with 27 points in 17 games and though they suffered their first defeat in five games when they lost 2-1 away to Sporting Kansas City last week, they remain only two points adrift of second-placed FC Dallas but have three game in hands on the Texans.
Arena, who previously coached the US national team, has won two MLS titles in 2011 and 2012 since joining the club in 2008 and during his time in LA he has managed the likes of David Beckham, Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan.
United and LA Galaxy have never faced each other, though the Reds have often traveled to North America for their pre-season, most recently in 2010 and 2011.
It might only be a friendly, but Wayne Rooney is likely to be determined to hit the ground running and impress Van Gaal from the word go. Despite England’s horrendous World Campaign, the United number 10 was one of the few member of Roy Hodgson’s squad to leave Brazil with his head held relatively high, having scored one and set up the other of England’s only two goals at the World Cup.
This is probably the first time Rooney isn’t the focus of a media witch-hunt after England’s shambolic performances at a major tournament and the 28-year-old knows he’ll have a lot to prove to his new manager.
As far as LA Galaxy are concerned, it’s hard to look past Landon Donovan. The all-time MLS top scorer – he’s scored 105 goals in 229 appearances for the Galaxy – was a surprise omission from Jurgen Klinsmann’s World Cup squad despite his 156 caps for the national team and will be keen to impress.