Da Silva breaks through as United beats Fire 3-1

BY foxsports • July 24, 2011

Rafael Da Silva scored in the 76th minute as Manchester United rallied to beat the Chicago Fire 3-1 in a friendly match Saturday.

Da Silva dribbled through the defense, then used his left foot to flip the ball through the legs of Fire keeper Jon Conway to give United a 2-1 lead. Nani sealed the win in the 82nd minute.

Wayne Rooney's equalized in the 66th as a sold-out crowd of 61,308 saw the preseason debut of new United goalkeeper David de Gea, who allowed an 13th-minute goal from Cory Gibbs.

With high temperatures humidity in Chicago, United manager Alex Ferguson went with a young starting lineup - and it showed early on, as its defense looked shaky at times and the Fire exploited it to take the lead in the first half.

Chicago took the when a long free kick by Marco Pappa was headed into the back of the net by Gibbs. Chicago went on to hold long stretches of possession for much of the first half and created a few more scoring chances - including a powerful shot by forward Cristian Nazarit that went just wide of goal in the 32nd minute.

Saturday's game featured the much-anticipated debut of De Gea, who left Atletico Madrid to join the Premier League champions in the offseason. He did not play in the first two legs of United's U.S. tour. He is expected to be the long-term replacement for Edwin Van der Sar, who retired at the end of last season, but he hasn't been handed the starting job yet.

De Gea, who recently helped Spain win the European under-21 championship, made an impressive save just before halftime, diving to stop a close-range shot from Chicago's Patrick Nyarko.

United brought in some star power off the bench in the second half, including Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Park Ji-sung and Rio Ferdinand.

Rooney made an impact, slipping past Fire defender Josip Mikulic, controlling the ball and lofting it softly over Conway to erase the Fire's lead.

United thrashed its first two Major League Soccer opponents, beating the New England Revolution 4-1 and the Seattle Sounders 7-0 on Wednesday.