The Washington Post

Manchester United caps U.S. tour with International Champions Cup trophy

Darren Fletcher, left, and Wayne Rooney with the International Champions Cup hardware in Miami. (By Chris Trotman — Getty Images)

Upon taking charge of Manchester United last month, Louis van Gaal grumbled about the club’s preseason tour involving a transatlantic flight and cross-country travel through the United States. At the end of the journey Monday night, van Gaal was feeling much better about the visit.

The Red Devils completed a bountiful two weeks by collecting the International Champions Cup trophy with a 3-1 victory over Liverpool in the tournament final in Miami. Goals by Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata in rapid succession turned a deficit into a permanent lead.

United’s final tour tally:

5 matches (L.A., Denver, Washington, Ann Arbor, Miami)

4 victories

1 draw (PK triumph)

16 goals for

4 goals against

Average attendance: 72,442

United will play its final tuneup next Tuesday against Valencia before opening the Premier League campaign Aug. 16 against Swansea City at Old Trafford.

Here’s hoping that, after years of exhibitions littered with substitutions and experimentation, the Premier League can concoct a formula to play a real match at a U.S. venue. The NFL plays a regular season game in London; why can’t the EPL make it happen in America? The audience is here. Tickets would disappear in hours. It would be a matter of identifying the time of year to avoid severe travel impact, selecting the proper venue and finding agreeable clubs, one of whom would have to relinquish a home date. Or perhaps two matches involving the same two clubs, thus neutralizing any advantages over the two-game season series. It would have to be done just right: no temporary grass over artificial turf, no football-worn fields with markings, no bowling-alley dimensions like in Ann Arbor.

A complicated proposition but one worth exploring.

Anyway, video from the ICC final:

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.



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Steven Goff · August 4, 2014