Beckham: MLS will face United's best
NEW YORK (AP)
David Beckham didn't need to be educated about Manchester United's motivation heading into Wednesday's MLS All-Star Game at Red Bull Arena.
The L.A. Galaxy star, capped 115 times for England's national team, expected the English Premier League champions to come out full blast against his All-Star teammates.
''When you play at that level,'' Beckham said, ''you approach every game the same - to win. Man U didn't come here to have a nice holiday and run around the field. They want to get their fitness up and they're playing to win.''
United has accomplished much on its U.S. tour. Starting with a 4-1 win over New England and continuing with a 7-0 romp over Seattle and Saturday's 3-1 victory over Chicago in the U.S. Cup final, Manchester United has outscored the league 14-2.
Wayne Rooney has four of those goals.
''Basically, it's all about getting our fitness in and getting ready for the season,'' the Reds forward said.
With the MLS drawing more European talent and an overall improved quality of play, manager Alex Ferguson said Wednesday's game against a team that features the MLS' leading scorer, Thierry Henry of the Red Bulls, should be formidable.
''The MLS is much stronger now,'' said Ferguson, whose team beat the All-Stars 5-2 last season. ''There's more players now.
''We're winning games comfortably, but it's been difficult. Seattle was really a false result. We created eight chances and scored on seven. Normally, you hope for 25 percent, 20 percent. At the end, it was a real slaughter, but it wasn't the case.''
United actually fell behind the Chicago Fire 1-0 in the first half, but came back in the second.
''In the second half, we had to step up the performance level,'' Ferguson said. ''Those teams have definitely improved, especially since six or seven years ago.''
Mexican goal-scorer Javier Hernandez made his Man U debut against the All-Stars last year. Chicharito hasn't played on this American tour as Ferguson attempts to rest him after having played the 2009-10 season for his original club, Chivas of Guadalajara, then the World Cup before he joined the 2010 summer tour.
He could get significant time against the All-Stars, however.
''We need to play a good game because they've got so many good players,'' Hernandez said of the All-Stars, who will be without Galaxy and U.S. national team star Landon Donovan as he sits with a groin injury. ''The only thing I need to do is work hard every day. Just keep improving and doing my best.''
The concept goes for the rest of the squad, too, as they attempt to defend their Premier League crown. The Reds were also runners-up to Barcelona in the European Champions League.
''There's always a demand for us to do well,'' Ferguson said.