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Chicago took a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute when a long free kick by Marco Pappa was headed into the back of the net by Gibbs. Chicago went on to hold long stretches of possession for much of the first half and created a few more scoring chances _ including a hard shot by forward Cristian Nazarit that went just wide of the goal in the 32nd minute.

It briefly appeared as though the Fire, who are near the bottom of the standings in the MLS’ Eastern Conference, would save some face for the MLS after United trounced its first two opponents on its U.S. tour.

United beat the New England Revolution 4-1 and the Seattle Sounders 7-0 on Wednesday_ although the Seattle game was close at halftime, with United leading 1-0.

“Chicago Fire played well,” Ferguson said. “Very good in the counterattack, a lot of pace up front. They gave us some problems. They could have scored two or three more.”

Saturday’s game featured the much-anticipated debut of De Gea, who left Atletico Madrid to join the Premier League champions in the offseason.

He did not play in the first two legs of United’s U.S. tour. He is expected to be the long-term replacement for Edwin Van der Sar, who retired at the end of last season, but hasn’t been handed the starting job yet.

De Gea recently helped Spain win the European under-21 championship.

Ferguson called De Gea’s technique “very good.”

“When he needed to step up and make some key saves for his club, he did,” Klopas said.

Klopas hoped his team’s strong showing in the first half made a good impression on local fans who enjoy top-level European soccer but haven’t been to a Fire match yet.

“I thought it was a positive impression,” Klopas said. “We wanted to step on the field and play with confidence.”

Ferguson, meanwhile, said he will begin getting his regular players ready for the season by allowing them to play 90 minutes in their remaining exhibition games, including Wednesday’s MLS All-Star game.

And Ferguson said he doesn’t expect United to add any more players in the summer transfer window.

“I think we’ll be starting the season with the players I have,” Ferguson said. “And I’m satisfied with that. There’s nothing on the horizon at the moment, I can assure you.”