Manchester United’s final pre-season fixture in the USA ended in a 3-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund for Erik ten Hag’s team.
The first half consisted of 43 minutes of complete domination by United coupled with a minute of complete madness.
Diogo Dalot scored the opening goal with a beautiful finish from the edge of the area, however, goals in the 43rd and 44th minutes from Donyell Malen saw United go into half-time 2-1 down after mistakes from Victor Lindelöf and Brandon Williams.
The second half saw United equalise through Antony, however, a poor moment from Aaron Wan-Bissaka gave Dortmund another chance on goal and sealed their victory.
Here are five talking points from the final fixture in the USA this summer.
#1 – First and second-choice XIs are now clear
Ten Hag’s selection of his starting XI for the fixture clearly showed who the Dutchman considers his first-choice players and his second-string XI.
The likes of Christian Eriksen, Scott McTominay, and Donny van de Beek all started against Dortmund, with all of United’s first-choice players initially rested for the tie.
It is interesting to note that Diogo Dalot started over Aaron Wan-Bissaka, showing that the English full-back may now have the full backing of Ten Hag just months after he was considered a sellable asset.
#2 – However, Dalot makes his case
Despite being part of the second-string XI, it was Dalot who opened the scoring with a fantastic strike from the edge of the area, reintroducing himself to United fans in dramatic fashion.
Dalot was aggressive and on the front foot, and may have found even more joy down the right-hand side if he had been partnered with a winger other than Forson.
Wan-Bissaka’s performance in the second half was comparatively poor, conceding possession for what ultimately turned out to be Dormtund’s winner.
#3 – Sancho’s new lease of life
Jadon Sancho impressed once again through the middle – a position Ten Hag has consistently been trialling the Englishman in throughout pre-season.
With United not having a recognised striker during pre-season so far, Sancho has done well to plug that gap, getting involved in build-up play and on the turn to set the team away in quick time.
After a rocky first two seasons at the club, Sancho’s newfound position may give him new life under Ten Hag.
#4 – Pellistri should stay at the club
Facundo Pellistri’s performance against Dortmund was very positive.
He was youthful, vibrant, and fast, and alongside Jadon Sancho, was United’s brightest attacker.
Although there have been rumours of him going out on loan once again this season, his 60 minutes showed that he certainly has something to give Ten Hag’s team, and this should be utilised next season.
#5 – Giving goals away for free
Dortmund’s goals were all completely gifted by United, with mistakes galore being punished.
Yes, United were positive in attack and created many chances, but with the Premier League season just two weeks away, these types of errors must be nullified now if they are to start the 2023/24 campaign well.
It musters some bad memories of the start of last season when United made multiple errors in their opening losses to Brighton and Brentford – Ten Hag cannot afford these types of mistakes again.
Let’s hope that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
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