Man U 0 Bayern Munich 0 (Bayern won 4-2 on pens)
It was almost like a secret. The big 'soccer' game in town had garnered very little air time and newspaper column inches over the weekend that it was pretty much word of mouth that brought thousands of people walking along the lake front on Sunday afternoon towards Soldier Field. I was amongst them, men, women & children all dressed in their favourite football tops (a real eclectic mix) that did make me feel very homesick, but that is where the comparison ended.
Over 58,000 people sat quietly through a very dour 0-0 pre-season kick about between two supposed giants of world football, and no it definetely has not changed my opinion of friendlies.
Once again I was disappointed with the organisation inside and out of the marvellously asthetic Soldier Field, we like thousands of others were wondering around the ground minutes before kick off trying to find entrances and in our case the box office which turned out to be a picnic table with an old lady sitting behind it!
The game was delayed so we took our seats high up in the sky just before the teams kicked off. The view was amazing, but looking around the United side there were very few familiar faces which must have been a huge disappointment to the hordes of United Yankie 'fans' who were dressed in van Nistelroy, Giggs, Howard, Scholes and Ronaldo shirts. Only Roy Keane playing as a sweeper, debutant Alan Smith and David Bellion were recognisable although Bayern did start with Kahn, Hargreaves, Ballack, Makaay and Ze Roberto.
Very few chances were made during the entire 90 minutes and the game was at best boring. The Germans had the better of the first period as they should of done but 7 half time substitutions allowed United to get more into the game in the 2nd half with local Chicago lad Jonathan Spector impressing in defence.
It was a real shame because this was a great opportunity to impress on the local people the virtues of the beautiful game and in my opinion was a huge chance wasted. In fact the Champions World Series sponsors might have something to say about the C team that Sir Alex Ferguson put out and the whole lack lustiness of the affair. The majority of the 58,000 people paying between $45-$150 for a ticket showed their dissatisfaction towards the end, when not being used the 0-0 draws in the traditional US sports, started booing and whistling.
Hence a rather obviously unplanned penalty shoot out and with Alan Smith and late subsititute John O'Shea failing, the Germans ran out 4-2 'winners.'
I must share with you a conversation that two American's were having behind us during the first half, when one said to the other that he did not understand this clock thing. "Why is the clock counting up?" and his mate equally bemused replied " And the clock is not stopping when the ball goes out of play. That's not fair."
Oh dear, I think it will take more than a gentle afternoon kick about for the world's game to be embraced by the Yanks.
Bayern Munich: Kahn – Görlitz, Linke (Demichelis 46), Kuffour, Rau (Kovac 46) – Hargreaves (Frings 46), Ballack, Deisler (Scholl 46), Salihamidzic (Trochowski 46) – Zé Roberto (Santa Cruz 46), Makaay (Hashemian 46)
Manchester United: Carroll – Eagles (O'Shea 69), Spector, McShane, Bardsley – Djordic (Jones 69), Richardson (Chadwick 81), Keane, Djemba-Djemba – Smith, Bellion