The Chicago Fire have just 2 wins this MLS season. But they looked pretty impressive to Manchester United F.C. on Saturday. This match-up between the Red Devils and the “Men in Red” was much closer than anyone expected. The Old Trafford outfit absolutely destroyed the Seattle Sounders, 7-0 in their last preseason friendly. Therefore, conventional wisdom held that this match could see more of the same.
However, this friendly held in 90 degree heat and ugly humidity at Soldier Field, turned out quite different.
The scoring began in the first half when Chicago’s Cory Gibbs’ header found the back of the net. Coincidentally, Gibbs was the lone Fire player selected for the pre-game media conference Thursday.
“We’re excited for this opportunity, halfway through our season,” he told the press Thursday.
“Playing one of the top teams in the world, it will be a good test for us mentally, and I think our fans also deserve it.”
Gibbs certainly made the most of his opp.
But in the second half, Wayne Rooney tied the game in a breakaway goal, continuing to show that he’s in midseason form already. (He had a hat trick in just one half vs Seattle earlier this week)
Then Rafael scored in the 75th minute on his first touch of the game. The Brazilian’s goal provided the go ahead margin. And then in the 81st minute, Nani scored for United to make it 3-1. He then celebrated with some nice aerial flip flops.
But as this was an exhibition match, so the main focus is not on the score, but on issues surrounding the depth chart. Specifically, will David de Gea be able to maintain the Red Devil’s starting goalkeeper position for the forthcoming season?
De Gea is half the age of the goalkeeper he is replacing for United, the recently retired veteran Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, 40.
De Gea’s age, has led some to question if he can handle the rigors of the English Premier League. The concern for every Manchester United supporter is that de Gea will crack under the pressure much like previous United goalkeepers have since the retirement of Peter Schmeichel and the emergence of van der Sar such as recent pretenders to the throne like Ben Foster and Tomasz Kuszczak to cringe worthy clowns like Mark Bosnich and Massimo Taibi.
Chicago obtained the first glimpse of this controversial signing today at Soldier Field. He saved 6 shots, and allowed one goal. How do you think he did? Comment below.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports You can follow him on Twitter
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