Down The Wings

Manchester United Fan Blog

Match Report & Player Ratings: Manchester united 2-3 Borussia Dortmund

(Photo by Marco Steinbrenner/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Manchester United managed to score twice but ultimately ended up losing to Borussia Dortmund in Las Vegas, Nevada in the early hours of Monday morning, with the German side edging the five-goal encounter 3-2.

Reds boss Erik ten Hag will hope what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas- as the saying goes- after watching his side concede three goals at the hands of some quite lacklustre defending.

Diogo Dalot’s delightful opener was cancelled out by a rapid-fire double from Donyell Malen just before half-time. Antony managed to level things with a neat finish not long after play resumed following the interval, but Youssoufa Moukoko nipped in ahead of Luke Shaw with twenty minutes remaining to snatch the win for Der Schwarzgelben.

Losing the final game of the tour of the United States means that United interestingly have won their first three pre-season games, but have now lost the last three, too, which is bound to make supporters mixed in their emotions as the start to the 2023/24 Premier League campaign fast approaches.

How it went down

Omari Forson was part of what many fans would have considered to be a second-string starting lineup deployed by the Man United manager. The 18-year-old almost had a dream start after five minutes when he intercepted a loose ball on the left-hand side of the Dortmund penalty area, but his driven, left-footed strike was parried away by goalkeeper Gregor Kobel.

Forson would eventually be carded for a scuffle later in the half and subsequently be replaced by Antony in the 37th minute as a bid from Ten Hag to protect his youngster.

The chance was soon followed by opposite winger Facundo Pellistri- deployed out on the left- who craftily took the ball to and along the byline only for his cross to be put out for a corner by Mats Hummels.

Scott McTominay failed to fool the referee with his theatrics around the twenty-minute mark after he went flying to try and win a penalty following light contact from German centre-back Niklas Sule.

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However, it did not matter as Dalot emphatically put his side in the lead just a few minutes later. The Portuguese right-back was teed up centrally on the edge of the area, opening up his body and getting the ball out onto his right foot before lofting a fine strike into the far-right corner that any goalkeeper would struggle to stop.

Young forward Karim Adeyemi provided Dortmund’s best chance prior to equalising with a powerful, central effort from range yet it failed to trouble Tom Heaton who collected the ball after parrying it up in the air.

Following that, Hummels’ yellow card offence on Pellistri resulted in a free-kick from around 25 yards, but Christian Eriksen’s effort was saved well.

The game was levelled in the 43rd minute after a fortuitous deflection from Brandon Williams’ penalty area tackle dropped to the feet of Malen, and the former PSV Eindhoven forward easily put the ball beyond Dalot and a scrambling Tom Heaton to equalise.

The goal scorer could hardly believe his luck not even sixty seconds later when familiar face Marcel Sabitzer- on loan at United for the second half of last season- intercepted a dubious pass from Victor Lindelof as Dortmund pressed high, playing in Malen one-on-one who rolled it beyond Heaton to flip the game in its head.

Sebastian Haller had a golden opportunity to extend the lead in the 47th minute but was denied when faced with Ten Hag’s only half-time substitution, Andre Onana. After Adeyemi made a hash of the follow-up, Onana darted over to Harry Maguire and went absolutely mad, later claiming after the game that there is no bad feeling between the pair and that the rollicking only came out of high demands of his defenders.

United capitalised on the let-off just five minutes after when Antony stroked the ball into the far corner on his left foot, picking up on Donny van de Beek’s heavy first touch and leaving the goalkeeper routed to the spot with a low, calculated effort.

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Changes were aplenty across the ninety minutes, but Ten Hag made the bulk of his in the 61st minute with first team quality through the likes of Casemiro, Mason Mount and Marcus Rashford introduced.

The opposition manager Edin Terzic will have been delighted as Moukoko fired in what proved to be the winner just after the seventy-minute mark. United’s defenders looked slightly adrift and off the pace when the 18-year-old rushed into the area and converted on the line of the six-yard box following a cross from Dortmund cult hero Marco Reus from the left.

With Rashford missing the ball from close range following a set-piece, Antony failing to convert a rebound with the goal gaping and the latest substitute Joe Hugill denied one-on-one, all after going behind again, it was clear that a third goal was too great an ask for Ten Hag’s team as the tour of the United States concluded with a defeat for the Reds.

Final Score: Manchester United 2-3 Borussia Dortmund (Dalot 24’, Antony 52’) (Malen 43’, 44’, Moukoko 71’)

Player ratings and lineups

First half: Tom Heaton (6), Diogo Dalot (7), Harry Maguire (5), Victor Lindelof (5), Brandon Williams (6), Scott McTominay (6), Christian Eriksen (6) Donny van de Beek (6), Omari Forson (off 37’) (6), Facundo Pellistri (7), Jadon Sancho (6).

61st minute onwards: Andre Onana (on 45’) (7), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (6), Jonny Evans (6), Lisandro Martinez (6), Luke Shaw (6), Casemiro (6), Bruno Fernandes (6), Antony (6), Mason Mount (6), Jadon Sancho (off 77’) (6), Marcus Rashford (6).

Second half substitutes: Joe Hugill (on 77’) (6).

Man of the match

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Many fans were once again impressed by Pellistri’s contribution in the hour that he was on the pitch.

The Uruguayan showed his ability to take people on with his low centre of gravity from the left wing, notably reaching the byline and earning a corner as well as working his way inside to draw a free-kick and a yellow card in the first half.

The 21-year-old is a selfless player in relation to how he is always looking to find a teammate when inside the area, exemplified in his performance at the Allegiant Stadium, and this something that many fans feel could be an asset to the first team given that the majority of United’s wingers are proving to be goalscoring wingers rather than chance creation ones.

It will be very interesting to observe the future of United’s no.28 with him having been out on loan for a lot of his time as a United player since singing in the summer of 2020. Pellistri has had limited chances in the first team despite being an international footballer for Uruguay. With that being said, he was off the bench fairly frequently last season; whether or not there is a place for him in the squad going forward remains to be seen.

The bigger picture

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The optimism generated from the first three pre-season games has swiftly faded; however, many fans are keeping to the realistic view that it is only pre-season and the true test will come on Monday 14th August when United host Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford in the club’s first game of the Premier League season.

The new signings have bedded in well, current players have gained fitness and young players have been given opportunities. That is what pre-season is all about, and whilst it would be ideal to win every game, there are certainly positives to take from the tour.

Ten Hag will have got a good look at the squad on tour as they built their fitness, and he will now be trusted to make crucial decisions on the futures of certain players in relation to outgoings.

In relation to incomings, top-tier transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano has given his infamous ‘here we go’ tagline regarding the transfer of 20-year-old Danish striker Rasmus Hojlund to United from Italian club Atalanta. With Onana, Mount and now Hojlund secured, the question remains to be seen as to whether or not United will continue to spend this summer as links to Fiorentina’s Moroccan holding midfielder, Sofyan Amrabat, intensify.

Until the start of the new Premier League season, fans will get to observe two final pre-season games and maybe, just maybe, another face or two coming through the door to put United in the best possible position ahead of 2023/24.

What is next?

Man United next face Lens RC at Old Trafford on Saturday 5th August, kicking off at 12:45 (BST), where the new signings could make their unofficial debuts at their new home ground. It would seem likely that it will be a younger squad on show, though.

That is because the day later, on Sunday 6th August, United take on Athletic Club (Athletico Bilbao) at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. That one kicks off at 16:00 (BST), where it could well be the case that the senior team is fielded.

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