SEATTLE (AP) — Morgan Schneiderlin didn’t need even a week to make an impact for Manchester United. The Frenchman barely needed five minutes.
Schneiderlin scored on a header in the fifth minute Friday night in his debut with the Red Devils, lifting his new team past Mexican power Club America 1-0 in an International Champions Cup game.
Schneiderlin officially joined Manchester United on Monday from English Premier League team Southampton. He also was on France’s 2014 World Cup team, and was one of two high-profile players to join Manchester United this week.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, who spent 13 years at Bayern Munich and helped Germany win the World Cup last year, also played his first game with Man U, going the entire second half. He got 51 touches of the ball in his 45 minutes – more than any United player – but did not get off a shot.
The 25-year-old Schneiderlin made good on Manchester United’s first shot of the game in front of 46,857 fans at CenturyLink Field. A corner kick was cleared out to the top right corner of the penalty area, from where Juan Mata lofted it across to the far side.
Schneiderlin headed it into the upper-right corner.
“We have practiced this with him, so I was very pleased with the performance,” United manager Louis van Gaal said. “But it’s also that America doesn’t have many good headers (defensively). So we did know that the benefit was there. In the Premier League, it is not our benefit because we are always smaller.”
Van Gaal, starting his second season as Manchester United’s coach, played one group the entire first half, then went with a different 11 for the entire second half in the team’s first preseason game.
“Our first 45 minutes, I wanted to see our defensive organization. We didn’t give any goals away and only (allowed) one or two chances, so I’m satisfied with that,” he said. “Club America is very handy with the ball – very aggressive and very quick, so it wasn’t so easy. But all the players did what they had to do in our philosophy, so I’m very happy and very satisfied that we won.”
Club America had two huge opportunities to tie late in the game.
In the 73rd minute, Diego Pineda caught up with a ball on the attacking left side and crossed it into the box. Alejandro Diaz ran into it and had a point-blank shot from 3 yards in front of the net, but slammed it off the left post. In the 81st minute, Andres Andrade, who scored in Tuesday night’s 2-1 Cup victory against the San Jose Earthquakes, was on target with a shot from the top right corner of the box, but Anders Lindegaard went down to make the save.
“We got the goal against us by a set piece that we made a mistake on. But then again, I like the way the team started the game, and I was happy with the performance,” Club America coach Ignacio Ambriz said. “We lost by a mistake, but I still feel very good about how we played. We just need to continue to fix those little things.”
Lindegaard and Sam Johnstone shared in the shutout, each playing 45 minutes.
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