HARRISON, N.J. — The 4-0 result will raise eyebrows, but the MLS acquitted itself well against Manchester United in Wednesday night's All-Star Game at Red Bull Arena.
No one more than the Red Devils’ legendary manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, thought the All-Stars deserved a better result than a two-goal deficit at halftime.
"I think it was a tighter game than the score line showed for the first half," Ferguson said in a press conference after the match. "I think the MLS team was more dangerous than us."
Ferguson thought his side struggled to adjust to the quick field and the light ball, but began to dominate in the second half as they started playing shorter passes.
The Red Devils boss also reserved high praise for a man he first gave a chance to as a teenager.
"I thought David Beckham did really well. Thirty-six years of age, he showed great energy," Ferguson said before focusing on two other MLS stars. "Thierry Henry showed that change of pace — he's still a great threat. The wide right player [Omar Cummings] was a real handful in the first half."
Ferguson credited MLS with an improving level of play. He was impressed by the increasing talent on the field and would consider sending one of his younger players to the league if the situation was right.
"It's something that there have been some approaches about that," he said. "The difficulty of that is that [the United States is] a far bit off. Convincing a young player to go so far away could be a problem. We like to try to keep our players as near to us as possible so we can monitor them.
"I'm not against it. It would be entirely up to the player himself if he found it worth it. The standard of the game has risen."
Ultimately, however, Wednesday night's fixture was just another in a series of preseason tests for Manchester United, albeit a match in "a terrific modern stadium" with enthusiastic fans.
"It's a game to enjoy," Ferguson said.
His team enjoyed both playing in the tilt and the final score.