Defending Premier League champions Manchester City beat Mexican side Club America 2-1 in their opening preseason match in Houston, Texas, but this summer’s star signing Erling Haaland did not see the field.
Haaland was expected to make his much-anticipated debut at NRG Stadium, but he was kept on the bench due to “a minor injury complaint,” according to the club’s official site. Cameras captured Haaland dressed in a hoodie and seated next to center back Ruben Dias, who was not part of the matchday squad.
While the attention was on the new players, it was old reliable Kevin De Bruyne who accounted for both Man City goals. The team captain pushed up from his attacking midfield position to create his own shot on the first goal, and then he ran onto a ball from Riyad Mahrez and ‘megged the ‘keeper just before halftime.
Three Man City players who did manage to make their debuts were former River Plate star Julian Alvarez, goalkeeper Stefan Ortega, and Kalvin Phillips, who started at center back before moving into his preferred central midfield spot. Alvarez was the center forward at the opening whistle, but didn’t get any good looks as De Bruyne claimed the headlines with his trademark runs from midfield.
Haaland’s debut could come against his former Bundesliga nemesis Bayern Munich on Saturday, July 23 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Manager Pep Guardiola indicated as much after the 2-1 win over Club America:
“Next game he’ll be ready,” reads a quote on the club’s official site. “He had niggles, we don’t want to take risks. Maybe against Bayern, we will see … The season is so long; we will have time, don’t worry.”