CARSON - With David Beckham watching both of his former clubs from the stands, Marcus Rashford scored a first half double within 20 minutes to lead Manchester United to a 5-2 victory on a balmy Saturday night in Southern California.
Rashford, who is still only 19 years old, started at striker and scored within two minutes of the opening whistle. After putting in a 45-minute shift and grabbing a seat during the preseason friendly for the Premier League club, one could not help but marvel at the teenager's composure in front of goal combined with the pace and positional understanding on display.
For the Galaxy, the match served as an all-too-familiar mid-season exhibition contest that tends to more accommodate the visiting teams in their preseason preparations than help the LA-based club directly.
At halftime, both clubs made wholesale changes and brought on their regulars for the final 45 minutes, with the Galaxy bringing on a couple more first-choice players at the 60-minute mark.
For Manchester United, the halftime changes included Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan coming on, the latter of whom scored Manchester United's fourth goal of the night. At 4-0 up, one would have had a tough time seeing any purpose to looking up at the scoreboard.
The greater meaning of the day, though, came from the debut of Manchester United's new star striker Romelu Lukaku, who arrived from Everton for nearly $100 million transfer fee and officially only just joined the team in Los Angeles earlier in the month.
Lukaku came on at halftime and played for the entire second half, after Rashford and Marouane Fellaini had helped Manchester United jump to a 3-0 halftime lead against a weakened LA Galaxy starting lineup. The Belgian's first chance was blocked off by Galaxy goal keeper Brian Rowe, and the 24-year-old missed the target on his second attempt. Ultimately, the Belgian failed to score on his debut.
One of the other halftime substitutes for the Red Devils, Anthony Martial, looked active from the moment he came on, and the Frenchman eventually turned in Manchester United's fifth goal of the night in the 72nd minute.
Just shy of the 80-minute mark, LA Galaxy finally made a mark on the game when Giovanni Dos Santos beat Manchester United backup goal keeper Joel Pereira.
At this point, the Galaxy regulars, who should have been in mid-season form, displayed their quality and began a barrage on Manchester United's goal. Only a couple minutes later, Pereira was forced to make a point blank stop to save Manchester United's blushes.
In the 88th minute, though, an LA Galaxy corner led to a header by Dave Romney that caught Dos Santos on the way in to make the score 5-2 in favor of the visitors from Manchester. In effect, the Galaxy starters had played to a 2-2 second half draw against the Premier League giants.
Notes: Victor Lindelof, who expects to partner with Eric Bailly in the Manchester United back four, also made his Manchester United debut on the night, as the Swede played the final 45 minutes.