No Messi, no problem. Two months after Champions League final heartache, United fans finally had something to celebrate against Barcelona, as the Reds beat the European Champions 2-1 at FedEx Field in Washington DC.
Without their Argentinian playmaker (or Xavi, Dani Alves, Javier Mascherano, Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol), Barcelona lacked much of the creativity and movement that tore the Reds apart in May's Champions League final.
Of course, this game didn't matter quite so much, despite local media billing the game as a Wembley rematch and a chance for United, apparently, to “exact revenge” for May's painful defeat.
In reality, though, this was merely a pre-season run-out for Sir Alex's men, albeit a vital one with the Community Shield clash against Manchester City just eight days away.
United, at the end of a three-week stint in the States, started brightly and Rooney should perhaps have opened the scoring on 10 minutes when Nani whipped a dangerous ball across the box from the right. Rooney edged in front of his marker at the near post but blasted his low shot wide of the post.
Barcelona – shorn of their South American stars, including Lionel Messi - enjoyed a spell of short dominance after Rooney's miss, although failed to test Reds goalkeeper David De Gea. One deep cross from the right did force Fabio, on as a substitute for his injured brother (knee) on 17 minutes, to head behind for a corner, however.
With the Catalan side committed forward, the Reds cleared the set-piece and broke quickly down the pitch. Danny Welbeck slipped a pass between two Barcelona defenders for Nani to chase and when the Portuguese wide-man