Manchester United cruised to a 7-0 win over the LA Galaxy in their first pre-season game under Louis van Gaal. It was about as confident a performance and convincing a victory as the Red Devils could have hoped for, with their MLS opponents totally taken apart.
Van Gaal opted to start the game with the same 3-4-1-2 formation he used to impressive effect with the Netherlands at the World Cup. Luke Shaw was given the nod on the left, Antonio Valencia on the right, with captain Darren Fletcher and Ander Herrera in the centre of midfield. Juan Mata played just off Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck.
United started the game slowly, initially struggling to cope with the high pressing of their American opponents. However, they broke the deadlock with a fine long-range finish from Welbeck within a quarter-of-an-hour, after some good assist play from Mata.
Rooney made it 2-0 from the spot in the 41st minute, after Galaxy defender A. J. DeLaGarza handled in the box. In stoppage time it was 3-0, with Rooney completing his brace on a Welbeck assist, after a bad slip by Galaxy centre-back Tommy Meyer.
However, there was no doubt the star of the show was new midfielder Herrera. He showed glimpses of his best attributes in the first half, with a great long shot, stealthy runs into the final third and clinical passes from deep, but the Basque really came alive in the second half -- despite van Gaal opting to make nine substitutions.
Herrera threaded through Ashley Young just past the hour, who proceeded to pull the ball back for reserve left-back Reece James to slot home on his first-team debut. In the 84th minute James added his second, with Herrera and Young again combining to assist the young left-back, who had replaced a quiet Shaw at halftime.
Herrera sent Young through to score in the 88th minute, before the winger added his second before the final whistle.
All in all, an excellent start to life under van Gaal. The new signings look excellent and good respectively, James in particular offered great reason for optimism in the reserves, and United were never really caused a serious problem by their opponents. Whether that's just because they're the much stronger team, only time will tell. But so far, so good.