Man United rallies to douse Fire

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.

With temperatures in the 90s and oppressively high humidity in Chicago, Ferguson went with a young starting lineup - and it showed early on, as United's defense looked shaky at times and the Fire exploited it to take the lead in the 13th minute.

''It requires good patience, and we showed the patience,'' Ferguson said. ''We don't panic being down, we just play our game.''

Wayne Rooney 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 a goal from Cory Gibbs.

Ferguson said he initially thought De Gea was at fault for Chicago's goal, but changed his mind after seeing a replay.

''When I saw it again, he had absolutely no chance,'' Ferguson said.

United midfielder Park Ji-sung of South Korea said the heat was a challenge for players on both sides.

''When it's hot, it's always difficult,'' Park said. ''But we played our style, and we won. It was a pretty good match.''

Trailing at halftime after being turned away several times by Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson, United brought on some of its top players as substitutes to start the second half - including Rooney.

Rooney showed his ability to create an instant scoring chance when he chipped the ball over backup Conway, a second-half substitute, to level the game in the 66th minute.

Then da Silva dribbled through the defense and used his left foot to flip the ball past Conway in the 75th minute. Nani sealed the victory with a goal in the 82nd minute.

While Chicago missed on a few chances to extend its lead, Fire interim coach Frank Klopas scoffed at the idea that his team let one get away.

Klopas said: ''Come on, guys, you've got to understand what we're playing against. We put up a very good challenge. For me, more than anything, we made the game competitive.''

United counterpart Ferguson said: ''Chicago Fire played well. 'Very good in the counterattack, a lot of pace up front. They gave us some problems. They could have scored two or three more.''

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.

Ferguson called De Gea's technique ''very good.''

''When he needed to step up and make some key saves for his club, he did,'' Klopas said.

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

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

Klopas hoped his team's strong showing in the first half made a good impression on local fans who enjoy top-level European soccer but haven't been to a Fire match yet.

''I thought it was a positive impression,'' Klopas said. ''We wanted to step on the field and play with confidence.''

Ferguson, meanwhile, said he will begin getting his regular players ready for the Premier League season by allowing them to play 90 minutes in their remaining friendlies, including Wednesday's MLS All-Star game.

And Ferguson said he doesn't expect United to add any more players in the summer transfer window.

''I think we'll be starting the season with the players I have,'' Ferguson said. ''And I'm satisfied with that. There's nothing on the horizon at the moment, I can assure you.''