It’s always an honor to photograph elite athletes, but in this case, I got to shoot the team I’ve been supporting for over thirty years: Manchester United–the most valuable, (and arguably the most recognized) sports franchise in the world.
When Man. United, and their long-time manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, come to America, they do their best to bring their veterans, along with the up and coming generation of future stars. Perhaps the most notable example of the latter was the introduction of young goalkeeping prodigy, David De Gea.
De Gea, fresh from international duty with the Spanish under-21 national team, made his Manchester United debut at Soldier Field. While he was only tested in fits and starts by the Chicago attackers, he performed well in what must have been a nerve-wracking start for him. The goal he did allow, from the head of Cory Gibbs, would have been more than a match for any goalie, including recently retired United keeper, Edwin van der Sar.
When all was said and done, Man. United didn’t disappoint in Chicago at the Herbalife World Football Challenge match which took place on a sweltering day in the Windy City.
Competitors like Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Nani, Park Ji-Sung, Dimitar Berbatov, Nemanja Vidic, Michael Owen, and Patrice Evra, international superstars all, took to the soccer pitch and put on a quite a performance at a sold out Soldier Field.
I think you’ll agree, they are world-class athletes, and I can assure you they are also fun to photograph.
Manchester started the sold out match with many of their younger players, including goalkeeping prodigy, David De Gea, but went behind 1-0 in the 13th minute on a header by Chicago defender, Cory Gibbs.
In the second half, however, Sir Alex loaded the field with many of his regular starters. Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Park Ji-Sung, Nani, Anderson, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Rafael da Silva, Jonny Evans, all played a role in the second stanza.
Predictably, United went on to win the match, 3-1, on goals by Rooney (66′), R. da Silva (75′), and Nani (82′).
The only incident which cast a shadow on referee Terry Vaughn’s performance, came in the 81st minute when he inexplicably cautioned Ryan Giggs for a well-timed, and obviously fair challenge for the ball. Otherwise, as expected, the match maintained the air of an international friendly with a minimum of bruising play by either side.
A password protected gallery of high-resolution, downloadable images from the match, (and from the Friday practice session,) is available for editorial use. Please contact me at lodgetrail.com for information and queries.