The 2022-23 English Premier League season kicked off this weekend with hope, and nowhere more so than at Manchester United, where a new coach promised a fresh start and an end to years of mismanagement. It took all of 30 minutes on Sunday for that hope to evaporate, and for the stench of dysfunction to return.
United, with a disgruntled Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench, went 2-0 down to Brighton and ultimately lost 2-1.
Fans protested the club's American owners, and booed the players and manager off at halftime.
Brighton, the epitome of an underperforming mid-table team, bossed the biggest club in England for 45 minutes, then held on for victory, and reminded the Premier League of a resilient truth: That Manchester United, as currently constructed, belongs nowhere near the top of the EPL table, and perhaps not even near the top four.
The Red Devils looked no different than the team that finished sixth last season, with an Expected Goal differential suggesting they were thoroughly mediocre. Ronaldo entered early in the second half, but could not, and cannot, clean up the mess.
Follow along below for the latest highlights, updates and reaction to United's loss, and to results from across the Premier League and the rest of the soccer world.
Games to watch
(all times ET)
Saturday, Aug. 6
Sunday, Aug. 7
9 a.m. — Manchester United v. Brighton — Peacock
11:30 a.m. — West Ham v. Manchester City — Peacock
5 p.m. — San Diego Wave v. Kansas City Current — Paramount+
6 p.m. — OL Reign v. Houston Dash — Paramount+
Saturday: Brenden Aaronson's star is born at Leeds
Saturday's biggest Premier League story, from an American perspective, was Brenden Aaronson's debut at Leeds. The 21-year-old from South Jersey, dubbed "Medford Messi," had buzzed around the first EPL pitch he'd ever graced. He contributed to a first-half equalizer. Then, with Leeds and Wolves level at 1-1, he darted into the penalty box to seemingly finish off a Patrick Bamford cross — and an attacking move started by fellow American Tyler Adams — to clinch a 2-1 win.
Replays later showed that the final touch came off Wolves defender Rayan Ait-Nouri, and thus, Aaronson's winner became an own goal. But "it went off my shin somewhere in there, so I'm taking credit for it," he said postgame. And nonetheless, "U-S-A" chants rung out around Elland Road — as Leeds' American head coach, Jesse Marsch, also celebrated an opening-weekend victory.
In Germany, meanwhile, U.S. striker Jordan Pefok opened his Bundesliga account with a brilliant header, and spurred Union Berlin to victory in the Berlin Derby. And Dortmund hung on to beat Bayer Leverkusen in a battle of Bayern Munich's top two title challengers.