Situated across from Dean Martin Drive, cocooned in the $1.9bn Allegiant Stadium from the 40C heat and sirocco blowing across the Mojave Desert on which Las Vegas is built, Manchester United’s US tour closed with a record of one win and three defeats following this 3-2 reverse to Borussia Dortmund that was an unwanted comedy of errors.
The German side’s winner derived from a third defensive malady of United’s evening. Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s loose pass went to Marco Reus who, after a one-two with Julian Brandt, slid the ball across for Youssoufa Moukoko to beat André Onana.
Until Antony’s second half equaliser, Donyell Malen’s two goals had given Dortmund a first lead via 18 seconds – the gap between the strikes – of anti-professional play.
First though, Diogo Dalot decorated this contest with a 20-yard finish that sailed beyond Gregor Kobel into the top left-hand corner of the Dortmund goalkeeper’s goal, Donny van de Beek in assist mode with a touch to the Portuguese.
The XI Ten Hag sent out was not the finest he could field, as it had 11 changes and contained the lesser lights of Tom Heaton and Harry Maguire, plus Omari Forson, a 19-year-old attacker. The manager had followed the black eye he dealt Maguire by removing him as his captain with a rabbit punch of handing Scott McTominay the armband on the night – a decision that might euphemistically be described as more “tough love” from his manager.
“It was a good and very intense game,” Dortmund head coach Edin Terzic said after the game. “When you don’t close the center, it is very difficult to stop them. Despite them not having many clearcut chances, there are a few things that we didn’t like about the game. We didn’t have enough possession and made it too easy for them to attack us with a single striker.”
Once again, defensive issues were at the forefront, with Dortmund struggling with their buildup play and with individual mistakes that gave United plenty of chances to score. Unlike San Diego, however, Man United’s very experimental side had the quality to put away the chances provided by the Black and Yellows. The United goal was a great example as Diogo Dalot was given too much time and space to score from distance after a poor clearance following a United corner.
The 19-year-old was given encouragement by McTominay and Christian Eriksen as he walked off but got a lecture from Ten Hag on the touchline that lasted nearly a minute.
It looked like United might get in at half-time still in front only for some awful defending to gift Dortmund two quick goals before the break.
First, Brandon Williams was turned too easily on the left and the ball was worked into the penalty area for Malen to score from close range.
Then, just 18 seconds after the restart, Victor Lindelof carelessly gave the ball away to former United midfielder Marcel Sabitzer, who passed to Malen to score his second and make it 2-1.
It almost got worse for United early in the second half.
Maguire played Eriksen into trouble and when Dortmund broke quickly, they were only denied a third goal because André Onana, on as a half-time substitute, made a good save from Sébastien Haller. Onana has been at the club for less than two weeks, but still felt confident to race out of his goal to berate Maguire.
Having narrowly avoided going 3-1 down, United pulled it back to 2-2 when Mats Hummels gave the ball away inside his own penalty area and Antony passed a cool finish into the far corner.
Ten Hag brought on his first-choice stars after 60 minutes but rather than giving United the impetus to win the game, Dortmund soon took advantage of another calamity in defence.
This time Aaron Wan-Bissaka needlessly gave the ball away and Marco Reus crossed for Moukoko to beat Onana and seal victory for the Bundesliga side.
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