Preki didn’t get his wish, but Dwayne De Rosario gave his fans in Houston something to celebrate.
De Rosario scored a consolation goal late in the second half, as Manchester United routed the MLS all-stars 5-2 in Houston on Wednesday.
From the left side, De Rosario hit a shot that United keeper Edwin Van Der Sar was able to get his palm to, but the ball still had enough juice to sneak inside the far post.
The crowd at Reliant Stadium gave DeRo, who led the Houston Dynamo to two MLS Cups in his time on the Gulf Coast, a healthy ovation.
But Toronto FC’s coach made it clear he didn’t want his team’s leading scorer and lone representative in Houston to see the field.
“He doesn’t need to play any minutes,” Preki said after Tuesday’s CONCACAF Champions League win over Motagua. But all-star coach Bruce Arena put De Rosario in with 16 minutes left.
The game was out of reach when he was inserted. So, no doubt, Preki will be ... ahem... aggrieved by Arena’s decision to play De Rosario.
With a game in Kansas City on Saturday and a return leg against Motagua in Honduras Tuesday, Preki didn’t want De Rosario to be anything more than a spectator.
For Arena, the coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy, the loss to Manchester United wrapped up two nightmarish days.
On Tuesday, his league-leading Los Angeles Galaxy were thrashed 4-1 by the Puerto Rico Islanders in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League qualifier, putting the series almost out of reach.
MLS takes its all-star game very seriously. The league believes it is important that its best players put together a solid performance against top European sides.
But Manchester United scored just 23 seconds after the kickoff. Kevin Alston, the right back from the New England Revolution, made a horrendous back pass deep in his own half; United’s Federico Macheda pounced on the ball and slipped it by Galaxy keeper Donovan Ricketts.
It was the beginning of a red wave.
Even without Wayne Rooney, Nemanja Vidic, Ji-Sung Park and the majority of its World Cup players, United made it clear that this wasn’t going to be simple exhibition game walk-through. The Red Devils pressed the MLS all over the field, ripping the ball back as soon as it was lost.
Macheda added a second in the 12th minute, as he was left wide open to head home a corner.
The biggest roar from the Texas crowd came in the second half, when Mexican national team star Javier Hernandez made his Man U debut, entering the game as a sub, wearing his nickname, “Chicharito” on his back.
But, seconds after Hernandez entered the game, the Houston Dynamo’s own Brian Ching headed home a picture perfect free kick from FC Dallas’ David Ferreira.
It was as close as they’d get.
Darren Gibson restored the two-goal advantage with a wicked free kick after Hernandez was fouled by Chicago Fire defender Wilman Conde.
Conde’s nightmare continued as United youngster Tom Cleverly chipped a ball over him, then slammed it home to make it 4-1. Hernandez then nmade it 5-1.
De Rosario finished the game with his consolation marker, but if the trip and the appearance leave DeRo too tired to start in Kansas City, Preki won’t be a happy man.