David Beckham didn’t need to be educated about Manchester United’s motivation heading into Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game in New Jersey.
The Los Angeles 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 on Wednesday 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,” Rooney said.
With the MLS drawing more European talent and an overall improved quality of play, manager Alex Ferguson said the match 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.”
Two-time FIFA player of the year Lionel Messi and several others will not join their Barcelona teammates on a three-match tour of the United States in the coming weeks. … Messi, Barcelona teammate Xavi Hernandez and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo are finalists for the inaugural Best Player in Europe award. … After banishing Mohamed bin Hammam for life in a bribery scandal, FIFA was challenged to uphold its zero-tolerance fight against corruption by further examining a now-infamous meeting in Trinidad. … Turkey has postponed the start of its soccer season until Sept. 9 because of a game-fixing investigation that has landed 30 suspects in jail.