YOUR GUIDE TO UNITED’S PRE-SEASON
The 2016/17 season was the second-longest in Manchester United’s 139-year history but, after their summer breaks, the players will soon be back to work, with a busy schedule planned ahead of the new campaign in August.
With several high-profile fixtures to look forward to during Tour 2017, presented by Aon, as well as the chance to win yet more silverware in the shape of the UEFA Super Cup before the Premier League kicks off again, the Reds have an exciting and important couple of months in store. And you’ll be able to watch every tour game live on MUTV.
Here is our guide to the key dates and opposition awaiting Jose Mourinho’s men this summer…
8 JULY – Pre-season begins
It’s a little over four weeks until the players return to Manchester to begin pre-season preparations, before flying out to America to get some minutes under their belts. Speaking at the end of April, Mourinho said: “The group, when we meet again for next season, is a strong group. The new players, when they will arrive, will find a group more ready to go for big things.”
15 JULY – LA Galaxy v UNITED, StubHub Center (Last meeting: won 7-0, July 2014)
The Reds kick off Tour 2017, presented by Aon, against LA Galaxy at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles, where we will be looking for a repeat of the 7-0 victory over the MLS side during our last meeting in July 2014. Almost 90,000 fans turned out to see United in action that night at the Rose Bowl, and Mourinho’s side will hope to get off to the perfect start once again.
17 JULY – Real Salt Lake v UNITED, Rio Tinto Stadium (this will be the teams’ first meeting)
Two days later, United make a first-ever trip to Utah to take on Real Salt Lake at the 20,000 capacity Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy. RSL were only founded 13 years ago and will undoubtedly relish the occasion, having faced Real Madrid, Everton and Inter Milan in recent years.
20 JULY – UNITED v Manchester City, NRG Stadium (Last meeting: drew 0-0, April 2017)
Then, the Reds face a familiar foe on unfamiliar territory, in the first-ever Manchester derby to be played outside of the UK. The game at the NRG Stadium in Houston will be United’s first in this year’s International Champions Cup – a competition we won back in 2014 – and it will be a great chance for the players to gauge their pre-season progress against Premier League opposition.
23 JULY – UNITED v Real Madrid, Levi’s Stadium (Last meeting: won 3-1, August 2014)
The big games continue to come thick and fast, as Mourinho’s men make the four-hour flight back to California to take on Spanish and European champions Real Madrid, who we last faced in front of over 109,000 fans during Tour 2014. Our latest meeting will be held at the 68,000-seater Levi’s Stadium, home of NFL team San Francisco 49ers, and is sure to be a highlight of this summer’s trip.
26 JULY – UNITED v FC Barcelona, FedEx Field (Last meeting: won 3-1, July 2015)
Next up, following another flight across the country, the Reds take on La Liga giants Barcelona in Landover, Maryland. The final match in the States is also expected to draw the biggest crowd, with FedEx Field capable of holding up to 82,000 spectators. The sides last met during pre-season two years ago, with United running out 3-1 winners.
30 JULY – Valerenga IF v UNITED, Ullevaal Stadium (Last meeting: drew 0-0, August 2012)
Four days later, it’s back to Europe for our penultimate pre-season tour game, against Norwegian side Valerenga at the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo. This meeting will be the first between the sides for almost exactly five years, following a goalless draw during pre-season in 2012, as well as an important one for the club’s well-established fanbase in Scandinavia.
2 AUGUST – UNITED v UC Sampdoria, Aviva Stadium (this will be the teams’ first meeting)
The seventh and final game of Tour 2017 sees Mourinho and United up against Sampdoria at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, just 10 days before the start of the new Premier League campaign. It’s set to be a special occasion for Reds goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who played for the Italian side between 2011 and 2015.
8 AUGUST – Real Madrid v UNITED, Philip II Arena (Last meeting: won 3-1, August 2014)
There’s room for one more date in our pre-season diary. United will travel to Skopje, Macedonia on 8 August for a second encounter in as many weeks with Real Madrid, this time to compete for the UEFA Super Cup. It’s the annual clash between the winners of the Champions League and Europa League, with Real booking their place by beating Juventus 4-1 in the final at the start of June.
Then, of course, it’s back to business…