Manchester United completed another important pre-season run-out against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday afternoon as the two teams played out a goalless draw at Levi’s Stadium.
Both sides had chances to win it, with Eric Bailly striking the crossbar early on and Lee Grant forced into a fine save after the break, but the match was another positive step in Jose Mourinho’s preparations for the new campaign.
It was a lively start from the Reds, who had a glorious opening after just five minutes when Alexis Sanchez’s inviting free-kick was headed against the bar by Bailly from a few yards out.
Mourinho’s men continued to press but were forced into a change three minutes later when Antonio Valencia picked up a knock. Matteo Darmian came on to replace him, with Chris Smalling taking over the captain’s armband.
Alexis was looking menacing in attack and the Chile international went close with a free-kick on the half-hour mark, which whistled just past the post.
The Quakes, currently in the midst of their MLS season, gradually started to get into their rhythm and Joel Qwiberg stung the palms of Joel Pereira from outside the area.
There was very brief break in play when a bird was struck by the ball on the pitch and that proved to be the last real action of the half.
A raft of changes followed at the break – the Quakes changed their full XI, while the Reds made five substitutions with Juan Mata, Tim Fosu-Mensah, Grant, Axel Tuanzebe and Scott McTominay all coming on.
The Quakes had the first real opening of the second period and only some great work by Fosu-Mensah prevented them taking the lead. Neat play down the right led to the ball falling to second-half substitute Vako, but Fosu-Mensah stretched to clear his shot off the line.
A minute later, Grant saved comfortably as Vako’s free-kick was headed goalwards by Yeferson Quintana.
At the other end, Alexis and Anthony Martial showed some neat link-up play, but both were just unable to find the killer pass or opening to break the deadlock.
Grant was forced into action again on 71 minutes when he made the save of the match, brilliantly tipping Tommy Thompson’s long-range effort over the bar at full stretch. The Quakes then fashioned their best chance of the game as Quintana headed a corner against the bar,
Angel Gomes, Mason Greenwood and Demi Mitchell joined the fray late on as Mourinho gave further run-outs to his young guns, but proceedings ended all square in Santa Clara.
United: J. Pereira (Grant 46); Valencia (c) (Darmian 8), Bailly (Tuanzebe 46), Smalling (Fosu-Mensah 46), Shaw (Mitchell 75); Herrera, Garner (McTominay 46), A. Pereira (Gomes 83); Chong (Mata 46), Martial, Alexis (Greenwood 65).