NEW YORK — David Beckham has no doubt Wednesday’s match between the MLS All-Stars and Manchester United will be friendly in name only.
The former Manchester United star, who now plays for L.A. Galaxy and is lining up for the All-Stars, knows what to expect.
“When you play at that level you approach every game the same — to win,” Beckham said. “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 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, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said Wednesday’s game against a team that features the MLS’ leading scorer, Thierry Henry, 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 seven. Normally, you hope for 25 percent, 20 percent. At the end, it (looked like) a real slaughter, but it wasn’t the case.”
United fell behind the Chicago Fire 1-0 in the first half, but rallied 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.”
Mexican international Javier Hernandez made his Manchester United debut against the All-Stars last year. Chicharito has yet to score in limited time on this American tour as Ferguson attempts to rest him after having played the 2009-10 season for his original club, Chivas of Guadalajara, then the World Cup before he joined Ferguson’s group for the 2010 summer tour.
He could get significant time against the All-Stars, however.
“We need to play a good game because they’ve got so many good players,” Hernandez said of the All-Stars, who will be without Galaxy and U.S. national team star Landon Donovan as he sits out with a groin injury. “The only thing I need to do is work hard every day. Just keep improving and doing my best.”
The concept goes for the rest of the squad, too, as they attempt to defend their Premier League crown. The Reds were also runners-up to Barcelona in the European Champions League.
“There’s always a demand for us to do well,” Ferguson said.