PHILADELPHIA – Manchester United are set to take on the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday as part of their preseason North American tour. Unfortunately, they don’t know a great deal about their opponents. But they have done some studying.
"We watched their last two games against Toronto [a 2-1 win] and Celtic [a 1-0 win],” manager Sir Alex Ferguson said. “They look a very competent team with lots of energy in the center of midfield, and they have the freedom of moving up front with their Brazilian player.”
That Brazilian player would be Fred. But Ferguson admits he isn’t too concerned about the lack of knowledge of the Union. He’s more focused on his own players as they gear up for the start of the EPL season on Aug. 16.
"We’ll do our homework as best we can," he said, "but we don’t put in the same amount of preparation as with our regular opponents. Our main concern is our players’ fitness and tempo on Wednesday."
Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs sees the match as a good opportunity for the Union to play against some quality opposition. He's anxious to see the result, considering Philadelphia are looking to make a statement of sorts in their first appearance on the global stage.
“They’ll want to test themselves against one of the biggest clubs in the world,” Giggs said last week. “We’re still in training and we’ll want to win every game, like I say.”
Giggs goes so far as to say the 132-year-old United will look to help the first-year Union in their development as a club.
“If we can help them in any way to progress quicker, just by the way we play or just by the way we train and prepare for games, then hopefully we can do that,” Giggs said.
Expecting a good match from both sides, Union captain Danny Califf is relishing the chance to get on the field with such storied competition.
“We don’t have anything to lose, so we have no reason to play cautious,” Califf said. “We’re going to go out and have a good time and work hard and trade jerseys at the end of the game. Hopefully it’s a fantastic match.”
Manchester United Tour Schedule:
July 21: Philadelphia Union vs. Manchester United, 7:30 pm ET, Lincoln Financial Field (BUY TICKETS NOW)
July 25: Kansas City Wizards vs. Manchester United, 6 pm ET, Arrowhead Stadium (BUY TICKETS NOW)
July 28: MLS All-Stars vs. Manchester United, 8:30 pm ET, Reliant Stadium (BUY TICKETS NOW)