United open van Gaal era with thrashing win over LA Galaxy

PASADENA, Calif. —

#FireVanGaal? No, not yet.

For at least one game, disgruntled Manchester United fans were able to put that hashtag on hold as the Louis van Gaal era began for Manchester United with a 7-0 thumping of the LA Galaxy in the Chevrolet Cup at the Rose Bowl.


Goals by Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney, Reece James and Ashley Young helped van Gaal earn his first win in his first game in charge of United, the first of many steps they hope will erase the memories of last season when under David Moyes the team finished 7th and 22 points behind eventual Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City.

"Always the results do matter," said van Gaal. "With such results you get confidence and confidence in the new system. We introduced a new system and we played in the practice sessions two times 11 v 11. The boys are willing to take up all the information — and we have given a lot of information. Fantastic how they have performed today."

Van Gaal added: "I never go back. I’m always a human being who wants to see into the future. When I am introducing a new system, every good result helps — and that’s what I mean that helps in confidence in the new system. It’s better to win 7-0 then to lose and the players doubt the system. Now I don’t have that problem."

Despite being stifled by Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo in the opening minutes of the match, Welbeck fired a rocket of goal from 25 yards out in the 13th minute to open the scoring. Teammate Juan Mata had been fouled seconds earlier, but the ball bounced perfectly into the path of Welbeck who ripped the shot to open the scoring.

At the end of the half, mistakes by Galaxy defenders A.J. DeLaGarza (leading to a penalty) and Tommy Meyer (who misplayed a ball in the box) allowed Rooney to pounce and score twice in a span of five minutes.

Wholesale changes at the half by both teams opened the game up slightly, but James’ goals in the 62nd and 84th minute and a pair of long-range efforts from Young in the 88th and 90th completed the rout for the 20-time English champions in front of 86,432 screaming fans.

In the remaining days before the opener, there are many changes to come — from the naming of a new captain to possible dealings in the transfer market. But as van Gaal pointed out, last week many of the players who competed in the rout of the LA Galaxy were not a part of the squad that he began to train.

"When you see us train, then you can expect something — but not 7-0. That was for me a surprise. They were beautiful goals. It was just not the way of football, but that we scored out of beautiful attacks."


If Manchester United players continue to buy into the system and play the type of football they played at the Rose Bowl, it may be a while before fans become disgruntled and take to social media as they did with Moyes.​

United’s summer tour in the United States continues with games against AS Roma (live, FOX, July 26, 4 p.m. ET), Inter Milan (July 29) and a highly-anticipated clash against Real Madrid (live, FOX, August 2, 4 p.m. ET) at a sold-out "Big House" Michigan Stadium before their Premier League campaign begins at home Aug. 16 against Swansea City.