SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A boisterous crowd of 18,000, most wearing the famous red color of their footballing idols from across the pond, filled Avaya Stadium to capacity Tuesday night as Manchester United topped the hometown San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 in an International Champions Cup match.
First half goals from Juan Mata and Mephis Depay staked the Red Devils to a lead they would not surrender. Fatai Alashe scored for the Quakes to halve the visitors lead, but Andreas Pereira secured the victory with a second half strike.
The loss ended the Earthquakes participation in the 2015 International Champions Cup, as they finished the tournament with an 0-4 record.
Head coach Dominic Kinnear employed a first-team line-up to start the match, with Quincy Amarikwa, fresh off a brace against the LA Galaxy last Friday, at the tip of the attacking spear. The defensive back four -- Marvell Wynne, Victor Bernardez, Clarence Goodson, and Jordan Stewart -- had their work cut out for them as they worked hard to contain English and United talisman Wayne Rooney.
It was mostly one-way traffic toward David Bingham's goal for much of the first half, but the Quakes defense held their own for over half an hour. But then, in the 32nd minute, United struck to break the deadlock.
Some clever interplay at the top of the area gave Mata plenty of room to maneuver and size up a pass into the box. With the Quakes desperately trying to cut down passing lanes, the Spaniard drifted a ball in the direction of Depay that dipped under the midfielder's boot, past a helpless Bingham, and off the inside of the far post for Manchester's first goal of the evening.
It was a fortunate goal, but one that was well deserved. Goal number two, scored five minutes later, was not.
After tracking down Rooney on a breakaway in the 37th minute and seemingly scooping the ball to safety, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi inexplicably directed a back pass that eluded defender Wynne and rolled uncontested into the area. With Bingham left out to dry, Depay pounced on the loose ball and calmly slotted it past the Quakes' 'keeper to double the Devil's lead. The goal, and his overall play, was enough for the 21-year-old Dutchman to earn Man-of-the-Match honors.
The Earthquakes made it interesting just before intermission when Shea Salinas rounded his defender along the right byline and cut back a pass to Alashe to slam home past goalkeeper Sam Johnstone. The rookie midfielder's special moment paled only in comparison to scoring the first MLS goal at Avaya Stadium back in March. The shot was also San Jose's first and only on-target effort in the first half.
Wholesale changes to both sides were made after intermission, as the Earthquakes gave former Liverpool midfielder Marc Pelosi his San Jose debut. Newly signed Brazilian defender Matheus Silva also took the field for Kinnear's men.
The infusion of fresh legs did not work out as well as San Jose might have wanted, as it was Manchester United that scored an important third goal in the 61st minute to seal the result. With pinpoint accuracy from the top corner of the area, forward Jesse Lingard placed a cross right on the head of Pereira, and the Brazilian sent the ball back across the target and into the back of the net to extend United's lead to 3-1.
Pelosi had his moment to shine in the 70th minute, when the German-born Sunnyvale native found space 25 yards from goal and unleashed a rocket that skimmed just over the crossbar. The play was set up by Tommy Thompson -- perhaps a sign of things to come for the Quakes as the two U.S. youth internationals gain an understanding of each other's playing style.
With its ICC run over, the Earthquakes will turn their attention back to their MLS campaign when they visit the Vancouver Whitecaps this Sunday at BC Place.