Striker dilemma for Mourinho
United boss must find formation to accommodate Rashford and Lukaku
Manchester United got the striking performance they were looking for.
Their leading man out-muscled the Californian dreamers, ripping through terrified LA Galaxy defenders like a runaway freight train.
The only slight kink in the plan was his name was Marcus Rashford.
The teenager scored twice, linked effectively with colleagues and was only a snatched finish away from a hat-trick yesterday morning.
Romelu Lukaku took Rashford's place in the second half and, and although the pre-season friendly was a glorified training session, he looked like the lesser of the two strikers.
It was only one game and a barely competitive one at that. United strolled to a 5-2 victory without breaking sweat.
But Lukaku's stodgy showing gave a little ammunition to those questioning his £75-million (S$135m) price tag.
Even Jose Mourinho acknowledged the obvious differences between Rashford and Lukaku by essentially lying through his teeth.
Referring to Lukaku, the United manager said: "He didn't score goals, but he played better than the ones who did score goals."
Even by the most generous of interpretations, that clearly wasn't the case.
Lukaku didn't fare poorly, but he didn't come close to replicating Rashford's performance either.
The 19-year-old was a revelation. The scrawny, beaming kid of last season has gone, replaced with a sinewy, broad-shouldered powerhouse. He relished the opportunity to prove his worth.
Both goals hinted at a clinical edge that Rashford has been accused of lacking in the past. Two low finishes, into opposite corners, were coolly dispatched.
On both occasions, Rashford drew the Galaxy goalkeeper away from his line before smartly guiding the ball across him.
The teenager's runs were intelligent and effective, but his link play with Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata in particular was equally impressive.
Lukaku scores goals, and lots of them, but Rashford may have a bigger box of tricks, which makes for a fascinating dilemma for their manager.
Mourinho's patience has never been a virtue. His intolerance of developing youthful talents is well documented, but he must acknowledge United's careful grooming of Rashford.
Even if Lukaku proves to be the man for this season, Rashford could be the man for all seasons.
Of course, he's still a work in progress.
On the stroke of half-time, Rashford skipped through Galaxy's training cones with all the time in the world. He only had to pick his spot. He shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Rashford's goals were quick and instinctive. When he has too much time to make a decision, he can still make the wrong one.
A fastidious perfectionist like Mourinho probably favours the better odds of an experienced campaigner like Lukaku.
But the Belgian's second-half showing was patchy, jittery and rather indicative of that other Lukaku, the exasperating one who misses when it appears easier to score; the one that falls just short of the "world class" category.
There were mitigating circumstances. Galaxy introduced their first-team regulars in the second half and the hosts attacked with greater confidence.
But Mourinho also brought on key personnel, including Paul Pogba, who seemed determined to present his friend with a goal on debut.
In the 50th minute, Pogba squared a simple pass to Lukaku, who was unmarked and 12 metres from goal. He couldn't miss.
Technically, he didn't. He shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Later in the half, the ball broke to Lukaku just outside the box. His effort almost cleared the stadium. His close control also failed him on a couple of occasions.
Lukaku's most significant contribution came with United's fifth goal, where he dragged enough defenders wide to allow Anthony Martial time to pick his spot.
On a night when Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marouane Fellaini also scored and United might have reached double figures, Lukaku should have hit the target.
Of course, the goals will come, probably against Real Salt Lake tomorrow morning (Singapore time).
And Mourinho must be pleased that in Lukaku, Rashford, Mkhitaryan, Martial and Lingard, he now has a genuinely intimidating forward line with that rare kind of fast, rugged power that he craves at every club.
Hopefully, he can find a formation that accommodates both Lukaku and Rashford. The Belgian has the price tag, but the Englishman still has the greater potential in the long term.