Hello, and welcome to Sports Mole
's live coverage of the pre-season friendly between Real Salt Lake
and Manchester United
It's that time of the year where friendlies being staged at unsociable hours in the UK is a regular occurrence and we find ourselves in that position this evening as Man United take part in their second match in the space of three days. The Rio Tinto Stadium is the venue as they face Real Salt Lake and they will be looking to further improve their preparations for the new campaign with a second win on their tour of the United States.
We will get onto the match with LA Galaxy a little bit later but firstly, some team news. With just the three-day gap, we expects changes aplenty and that is what we have got...
MANCHESTER UNITED XI: Pereira, Fosu-Mensah, Lindelof, Jones, Blind, Carrick, McTominay, Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Lingard, Lukaku
At the weekend, Jose Mourinho
opted to use different XIs for both the first and second halves, and we are likely to get a similar occurrence here. It comes as no surprise that both summer signings - Victor Lindelof
and Romelu Lukaku
- are given their first starts in a Manchester United shirt in a lineup which also includes Paul Pogba and Henrik Mkhitaryan. Second-choice stopper Joel Pereira is given the nod between the sticks, while Scott McTominay gets an opportunity to impress Mourinho from midfield.
MANCHESTER UNITED SUBSTITUTES: De Gea, Romero, Bailly, Darmian, Mitchell, Smalling, Tuanzebe, Valencia, Fellaini, Herrera, Mata, A.Pereira, Martial, Rashford
We should expect many of United's replacements to be used at some stage in the match. This is just the second of seven pre-season contests which the Premier League outfit have scheduled so Mourinho will be keen to keep everyone involved.
A bit about Real Salt Lake now and while there will be certain degree of caution from coach Mike Petke
, this match represents a welcome break from their MLS campaign where they have lost 12 of their 20 encounters in the Western Conference. They have also shipped 43 goals so do not expect United to be short of openings this evening.
Want to get the lowdown of Real Salt Lake's results during the current campaign? Of course you do. Click here
to take a lot at how they have fared since March 4.
It may be worth us pointing out that there is some "weather" in the vicinity of the Rio Tinto Stadium. This was the scene just over an hour ago and it has resulted in weather warnings being issued. In short, it may result in delays before and during the game. As far as we know, we remain on course for a 3am kickoff, BST, but we shall keep you informed.
We said that we would get back to Saturday's game with LA Galaxy a bit closer to kickoff and good as our word, we shall do that now. It proved to be a highly entertaining contest for what was United's first outing of pre-season and Mourinho would have been delighted to see Marcus Rashford
get on the scoresheet twice in the opening 20 minutes. Jesse Lingard and Henrik Mkhitaryan were also on target, while Anthony Martial added a late fifth which may encourage bids for his signature. Click here
to read the full match report from that encounter.
Well this appears to be much more encouraging...
REAL SALT LAKE XI: Rimando, Beltran, Glad, Horst, Phillips, Sunny, Beckerman, Savarino, Rusnak, Plata, Silva
We have had to wait a while to be able to confirm the Real Salt Lak team news but there it is. The standout name is Kyle Beckerman
, who has won 58 caps for the United States, but some of you may recognise a former Manchester City player in their starting lineup. Between 2010 and 2015, Albert Rusnak
was contracted to the blue half of Manchester and although he failed to make a senior appearance, he made a total of seven outings in England on loan with Oldham Athletic and Birmingham City. He also made an impression in three years in the Eredivisie SC Cambuur and FC Groningen, while he has earned three caps for Slovakia.
When United are in town...
At this point, we should be seeing some players walk onto the pitch at the Rio Tinto Stadium but that is currently not the case. There's no issue with the weather though, I'm just assuming we are running a few minutes late.
Right, we now have teams, players, officials and a ball. I think we are all ready to get underway.
We are underway in Utah.
One thing which will benefit both sides is that it remains around 16C. We are usually looking at temperatures well in excess of that at this time of year in the United States so hopefully, there will be a decent pace about this game. However, it has been a relatively quiet start from both.
SHOT! Naturally, most eyes will be on the performance of Lukaku in this match and he has started brightly, with a shot going wide after he had cut inside onto his preferred left foot.
SHOT! United are already getting into their stride. On this occasion, it's young midfielder McTominay who gets an effort away and while he goes closer than Lukaku, he also fails to hit the target.
Real Salt Lake may had endured a poor season in the MLS but they are doing their utmost to match their more illustrious opponents during these early stages. Only some solid defending from Fosu-Mensah ensured that United avoided conceding an early goal from a cross from the right.
One thing that the home side will take from the opening stages is that they remain on level terms. LA Galaxy conceded after just two minutes and that set the tone for the rest of the match. United are having to work hard in order to gain a stranglehold in the contest.
SHOT! With speculation persisting over David de Gea's future, Pereira knows that he must take chances like tonight and he makes a smart stop to deny Plata, who was given far too much time to get a shot away. It took the Portuguese goalkeeper two attempts to grab hold of the ball, but he got there in the end.
Plata - an Ecuadorian international - is causing all kinds of problems for the United defence and Lingard is the man who has to put in some fine defensive work to prevent him from getting closer to goal. With less than 12 yards from goal, United would have probably gone behind had it not been for their long-serving academy graduate.19
GOAL! Real Salt Lake 1-0 Manchester United (Silva)
Well you cannot deny that it was coming. Real Salt Lake get reward for their recent pressure with a goal from Silva, who ran onto a through-ball before poking the ball past Pereira. This is not the start which Mourinho would have envisaged...
SHOT! Lukaku tries to provide an instant response for the Premier League side but his long-range strike is comfortably dealt with by Rimando.
GOAL! Real Salt Lake 1-1 Manchester United (Mkhitaryan)
It does not take long for United to get back on level terms, and in some style, too. Lingard and Lukaku combine to tee up Mkhitaryan and after taking a touch from just outside the area, he was successful in finding the back of Rimando's net.
Talk about mass changes. Real Salt Lake have just each and every outfield player. The defending wasn't THAT BAD for Mkhitaryan's goal...
We shouldn't criticise the home side too much. They have competitive league action coming up and given their league position, their preparation needs to be spot-on. This is now an opportunity for the rest of the squad to stake a claim for a role in future matches.
GOAL! Real Salt Lake 1-2 Manchester United (Lukaku)
There it is - the first goal for the £75m man. It's calmness personified from Lukaku who takes the ball around the goalkeeper to slot home his first strike for his new club. It was Mkhitaryan who turned provider to set up his new teammate.
United will also make changes at some point in the second half, but you would expect them to ease to victory from here. They are effectively facing a second-string outfit now and goals should be there for the taking.
HALF TIME: Real Salt Lake 1-2 Manchester United
The half-time whistle goes in Utah and United have overturned a deficit to lead at the break. They probably just about deserve to be ahead but it was a shaky start for a defence which features new signing Lindelof. Mkhitaryan and Lukaku have scored two well-taken goals but Mourinho will expect improvements during the second period.
We are back underway.
It comes as no surprise that Mourinho has already rung the changes. United now field an entirely different side to the opening 45 minutes, with the likes of Nailly, Herrera, Mata, Rashford and Martial all now on the pitch.
It has been a relatively quiet start to the second half with neither side getting into their stride. We think United will go through the gears the longer this match goes on, but credit to their hosts for keeping within a goal up until this stage in the match.
Tackles have started to come in from all angles. I'm not sure that this is part of the script. Mourinho probably won't mind replicating a competitive-match situation but not to the extent where his players are picking up knocks. Everyone needs to calm down...
At last, some goalmouth action. Martial thinks he is about to get clean through on goal but he is denied by a covering defender. The Frenchman is looking to not only impress Mourinho, but maybe interested suitors too.
SUBSTITUTION! It turns out that a United player has picked up a knock. Off goes Mata and on comes Demetri Mitchell.
The injury to Mata acts as a signal to the rest that the intensity of this match needs to drop. It means that we will probably see a little bit less action, but hopefully both teams can get what they want out of this contest.
RED CARD! It's pretty impressive to get sent off after just 23 minutes of being introduced into a friendly but that is exactly what Valencia has achieved. He has deemed to have gone in dangerous on Saucedo and United are now down to 10 men.
I'm not completely sure that the red card was necessary, but it further highlighted the stupidity which all started from needless meaty challenges from Herrera and Pereira soon after the restart.
Real Salt Lake now fancy their chances of getting an equaliser and Preston-born Luke Mulholland
should probably score from inside the penalty area. Instead, he fired off target.
CHANCE! United should make sure of the win when a delivery from Pereira finds Smalling, but he somehow heads off target from six yards out. That is sure to improve Mourinho's mood...
Less than 10 minutes to go now. If United avoid further injuries and remain ahead, Mourinho will consider it job done but it has been far from straightforward.
SHOT! Martial gets another chance to get on the scoresheet, but he fires harmlessly over after beating a Real Salt Lake defender.
I think everyone is hoping that the referee blows up after 90 minutes and adds no injury time.
FULL TIME: Real Salt Lake 1-2 Manchester United
The full-time whistle goes in Utah and United have held on to register a hard-fought 2-1 win. They did not have it all their own way against a team who made 462 changes (a slight exaggeration) during the match, but it is another game in the bag for Jose Mourinho
and his players.
That will be all from Sports Mole for this game. Thank you for joining us this evening and we hope to see you again later in the week. Goodbye for now.