NEW YORK — Sir Alex Ferguson has been around soccer long enough not to be fooled by a lopsided result.
Despite his team's 7-0 thrashing of the Seattle Sounders last Wednesday, Ferguson said he sees the quality of MLS rising.
"The game in Seattle was a false result," Ferguson told media during a press conference on Monday. "We created eight chances, scored seven of them. The strike rate was very high in the match. Normally, it’s 25 percent."
Ferguson remembers the first time he took his squad on tour of the US back in 2003. Since then, the Red Devils have made trips to America a regular part of their preseason tour, and last year MLS friendlies and the All-Star Game were a part of United’s preparation prior to the season.
This year, Manchester United have already played three matches against MLS sides, last week playing in the aforementioned friendly in Seattle and then going to Chicago to take on the Fire. They began the tour two weeks ago with a 4-1 win over the New England Revolution.
The third leg of United’s preseason tour was a bit more of a challenge, when the Chicago Fire took a 1-0 lead on Saturday before eventually falling to Manchester United 3-1 at Soldier Field. The Fire had many strong moments against the reigning English Premier League champions before eventually succumbing to their guests.
Ferguson walked away impressed with the MLS side’s performance.
“They created the better chances,” Ferguson said. "In the second half, we had to make some changes."
Ferguson noted the facilities and the growth of Man. United’s fan base in America as key reasons why the famed club continue to make the United States their favored spot for preseason tours. But over the past few years, Manchester United have been scheduling more and more MLS sides as part of their tour, a testament to what Ferguson sees as the development of the league.
“There’s improvement from each time I come here, especially six or seven years ago,” Ferguson said.
And the MLS All-Stars, who collectively face Man. United on Wednesday night (8:30 pm ET; ESPN2/TeleFutura/TSN), remember last year’s All-Star Game in which the English club beat them 5-2.
LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham knows his former club will be bringing their best to the field at Red Bull Arena.
“Manchester United players don’t come over here for a holiday," Beckham said. "They come over to win. They come here to get their fitness up, to work hard, to win.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer