Last year, American goalie Tim Howard first made headlines in leading United past Arsenal in a shoot-out in the Community Shield. This year, Howard was again in goal against the Gunners in the preseason battle of league and cup champions, but this time Arsenal crushed United, 3-1. He made two big-time saves in the first half but couldn't stop the Gunners' second-half onslaught.
Teenager Jonathan Spector came on with eight minutes left in the game at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. Next up for injury-riddled United: Romania's Dinamo Bucharest on Wednesday in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier.
The English Championship League (former First Division) began Saturday. BOBBY CONVEY didn't play for Reading, which begins its push for promotion to the Premier League with a 3-2 victory at home against Brighton. In goal for the Royals was MARCUS HAHNEMANN. EDDIE LEWIS was brought down for a penalty kick that teammate David Healy converted in the 77th minute to give Preston a 2-1 win over Watford.
In Germany's First Division, STEVE CHERUNDOLO (kicker rating: 4.5 on scale of 1-low, 6-high) played 90 minutes at his customary right back position for Hannover in its 2-1 loss at Bayer Leverkusen. Hannover teammate CLINT MATHIS is out with a leg muscle injury. CONOR CASEY made his debut for Mainz, entering the game in the second half of its 402 loss to Stuttgart.
In the Second Division, JOHN VAN BUSKIRK came on for promoted Rot Weiss Erfurt in the last minute of its 2-0 victory Sunday at Saarbruecken. GREGG BERHALTER is currently sidelined at Energie Cottbus (0-0 tie at FC Cologne Saturday)
GREG VANNEY (L'Equipe rating: 5 on scale of 10-high, 1-low) started for Bastia in its French First Division opener, a 2-1 victory over Strasbourg at home on Saturday. Less than a month after arriving in France for a tryout at Paris St. Germain, Bosnian citizen VEDAD IBISEVIC, the 2003 Soccer America College Freshman of the Year, played for PSG (20 minutes off the bench) in its 2-1 loss at Rennes.
In Belgium, OGUCHI ONYEWU debuted for Standard Liege in its 1-1 tie at Lierse Saturday.
Elsewhere in Europe, ROBBIE RUSSELL didn't play in Norwegian Eliteserien leader Rosenborg's 4-1 win over Lillestroem. RBK meets Maccabi Haifa of Israel Wednesday in the first leg of their Champions League third preliminary round series. WADE BARRETT (Dagbladet rating: 4 on scale of 10-high, 1-low) had a disappointing outing in his debut for Fredrikstad, coming off at halftime of a 3-0 loss at Valerenga. BRAIN WEST (rating: 3) went the entire game for FFK.
MELCHOIR ARNOLD's Chiasso has one point in its first two games in the Swiss Challenge League (Second Division). Captain BRIAN DUNSETH and LEIGHTON O'BRIEN (subbed at halftime) both started in Bodens SK's 1-1 tie with Brage in a battle of teams tied for last place in the Swedish Superettan (Second Division).