SEATTLE — While the biggest difference between Manchester United and Seattle on Wednesday night was their finishing quality — United got their seven goals on just 12 shots, and both managers had praise for the striker corps in those blue shirts — United’s ability off-the-ball was a sight to behold, and undid the young Sounders reserves repeatedly.
It didn’t go unnoticed, as one would expect in a 7-0 trouncing.
WATCH: Full Match Highlights
“I think on the field, I think at times we played good soccer and were right there with them,” Seattle striker Roger Levesque explained, "but their quality, that extra little bit shone through."
Levesque was on the field during Seattle’s strong first half, as he and his fellow starters got the Sounders into the break down just 1-0 and very much in the game. But he was relegated to the best seats in the house for the clinic United put on in the second, when they scored six of their seven goals.
“Their group is always in motion,” Levesque said. “It’s a group that’s been together for a really long time, and they’ve played a lot of games together. Their movement, and their touches — their first touch setting themselves up to play that next ball and creating space for each other — it was great.
“The wide midfielders would drag one of our guys inside and then one of their outside backs would come forward. The timing of those runs were great, and it allowed them to get in behind us.”
The Red Devils, powered by Park Ji-Sung, Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs, showed the kind of coordination that teams all over the world aspire to, and Levesque said it’s something the Sounders hope to emulate on both the first team and at the youth level.
“I think it’s always a work in progress,” he explained. “I think the earlier you start with those concepts, the easier they become later on. To get that fluidity and that movement you need a group that’s played together for a long time, and clearly they have. At this point, we’re making strides in that direction, but we’ve still got a ways to go.”
Lindegaard Leaves An Impression
There may be a goalkeeper controversy brewing in the red half of Manchester.
Dane Anders Lindegaard staked a powerful claim on the No. 1 shirt Wednesday night, snuffing out multiple dangerous Seattle attacks in the first half. The big ‘keeper, in his first year in Manchester after transferring from Norwegian outfit Aalesunds FK, showed that Spanish wunderkind David de Gea’s ascent as Edwin van der Sar’s successor is anything but preordained.
“You don’t focus on all the stuff going around in the background,” Lindegaard said after his stellar performance. “You just focus on the training tomorrow, and then you focus on the training the day after that. Always just focus on the things that are right in front of you.”
What was right in front of Lindegaard throughout his 45 minutes was a potent and versatile Seattle attack that came at him from all angles. He had to come out early to cut out through-balls several times, and got down late to stone James Riley after a Fredy Montero pull-back.
“If you start seeing things in a bigger perspective, if you start thinking too much about how things work, the way people think and so on, you’re gonna go mad,” Lindegaard explained. “You have to believe in yourself. I think a key word is ‘confidence.’ You have to be calm and you have to be confident.”
Lindegaard came to United on an undisclosed fee, rumored to be somewhere around $6 million. De Gea, on the other hand, cost a reported $30 million, making him one of the most expensive goalkeepers in the world.
The 27-year-old Lindegaard remains sanguine about his prospects at Old Trafford regardless of the difference in price.
“I’ve been a United supporter since I was four years old, ever since I was able to look around and think about what is going on in my world,” he explained. “It’s a huge privilege to play for Manchester United. Sometimes you have to sit down on your couch and relax and say, ‘Hey man, this is the biggest dream of your life.’
“So of course you have to enjoy it.”