Record U.S. soccer crowd sees Man United beat Real Madrid

Sat Aug 2, 2014 7:16pm EDT
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(Reuters) - The largest crowd to watch a soccer match in the United States - 109,318 - poured into Michigan Stadium on Saturday to see Manchester United beat Real Madrid 3-1 in a friendly.

The appeal of two of the world’s most iconic sports teams attracted fans to the International Champions Cup match at the University of Michigan's American football stadium in Ann Arbor.

The previous U.S. record attendance for a soccer match was 101,799 at the 1984 Olympic final between France and Brazil at the Rose Bowl in California.

The largest crowd ever to watch a soccer match was at the 1950 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro when 173,850 paying spectators came to the Maracana for the Brazil-Uruguay final clash, though unofficial estimates put the attendance as high as 210,000.

Two first-half goals by Ashley Young proved enough to help United beat the European champions on Saturday despite Real's world record signing Gareth Bale scoring from the penalty spot.

United's win means they advance to Monday's final in Miami, where they will meet traditional English rivals Liverpool.

The crowd got an added bonus when Cristiano Ronaldo made a surprise appearance for Madrid in place of Alvaro Arbeloa in the 74th minute, having been ruled out of contention before the match with what was reported to be an injured left knee.

Young had opened the scoring in the 21st minute when he capped off a 20-pass move to beat keeper Iker Casillas at his near post from about 12 meters.

Real equalized in the 27th when Bale was fouled in the box by United defender Michael Keane and then got up to convert the penalty by sending David De Gea the wrong way.   Continued...

Aug 2, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney (10) battles for the ball against Real Madrid defender Pepe (3) and defender Alvaro Arbeloa (17) during the second half at Michigan Stadium. Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports