San Jose Earthquakes' Fatai Alashe goes in on Manchester United's Justin Wilson
USA Today Sports

San Jose Earthquakes able to find positives in 3-1 friendly loss to Manchester United

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Sure, it was a loss. But there were pleasing aspects of the San Jose Earthquakes’ 3-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester United in Tuesday night’s International Championship Cup friendly at Avaya Stadium.

“We wanted it to be a good match, but we wanted to make sure both teams walked off the field healthy, no injuries,” San Jose coach Dominic Kinnear said. “We had a poor performance on Friday night [a 5-2 loss to LA Galaxy], and I wanted to be sure we stepped on the field ready to give a competitive fight. And I think we did that at times.”

On the whole, Machester United dominated the proceedings, riding goals from Juan Mata, Memphis Depay and Andreas Pereira. But more importantly, despite lining up opposite the legendary Premier League side, Kinnear said there were no wide eyes from his men.

“If you step on the field wanting to shake their hands and just be around them, you’re going to be in for a long night,” Kinnear said. “So it’s important for us to step on the field and try and make a game out of this. It would have been nice to have been a little bit closer and have more possession of the ball, but I thought we never gave up the entire time, even when we made mistakes that led to their goals.”

The high point of the night for San Jose came just before half time, when a Fatai Alashe goal on the end of a Shea Salinas run cut Manchester United’s lead to 2-1.

“At 2-0, you can bury your head,” Kinnear said. “Shea had a good turn and a good run at the defense. That was one of the few times we got deep in their area and our composure paid off for us.”

Added the rookie Alashe: “It’s not often you get to score against Man United, so it’s definitely up there in the rankings. Whenever you’re on the field with some of those guys, it’s something you’ll never forget. Those are world-class players, and you see it when you play against them why they are the best out there. It’s definitely a lot of fun, the whole experience is really cool.”

Another highlight for San Jose was the debut of US youth national team midfielder Marc Pelosi, who blazed a shot just over the crossbar midway through the second half.

“Pelosi did okay,” Kinnear said. “It would have been nice to see him score that goal. It got him in to match a little bit; he looked comfortable.”

Pelosi expressed frustration at not being able to finish the shot.

“I touched it inside, and saw [the defender] coming, and I was thinking to take it to the left of him, but then he stopped so I shot it,” he said. “I think it was because I was deciding between shooting and dribbling one more I was leaning back a little. I connected well, but it was just a little too high. I wish I would have scored that one.”

San Jose now prepare to re-enter the MLS playoff chase, starting with Sunday’s road match against the Vancouver Whitecaps (7 pm ET, MLS LIVE in US, TSN2 in Canada). But they’ll take with them some fond memories from Tuesday night.

“It’s always fun,” Salinas said. “Those are guys you watch on TV a lot, so it’s cool to be on the field with them. I didn’t get to trade jerseys, but it’s okay, I’ll enjoy the memory.”