Manchester United is considered among the world's premier soccer clubs while the Union are still feeling their way in their inaugural Major League Soccer season.

For one night on a bigger stage than the Union is used to performing, they held their own for the longest stretch before the depth of United took over.

Gabriel Obertan converted a feed from Danny Welbeck in the 76th minute as United defeated the Union, 1-0, in Wednesday's friendly before 44,213 at Lincoln Financial Field.

This was the second of United's four-game North American tour. United, which began its preseason training the first week of July, opened with a 3-1 win over Celtic on July 16 in Toronto.

And while it's preseason for United, the Union are nearing the midseason with a 4-8-2 MLS record, one game away from the midway point of the schedule.

The Union had nine regulars in the starting lineup, led by MLS all-star Sebastien Le Toux.

Manchester United didn't have nearly as many regulars in its lineup, but whoever wears the red uniform is an awfully talented player. And among the starters were midfielders Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, who have combined to make 1,249 appearances in their distinguished careers for United.

And speaking of the red, the Man-U fans, attired in the team's red shirts, were an overwhelming presence in the stadium.

Then again that shouldn't be a surprise. A study by TNS Sport, now Kantar Sport, estimated United's worldwide fans at 333 million.

The Union started Brad Knighton in goal, who has yet to appear in a MLS game this season with Chris Seitz playing every contest. Knighton didn't appear rusty during a scoreless first half, especially while making a diving save of a point blank shot by Danny Welbeck in the 36th minute.

In the first half, the Union looked anything but overmatched. As they have in MLS games, the Union never stopped hustling, going after every loose ball. After taking the first few minutes of the half to get used to the faster pace, the Union started created serious chances.

One person who flourished in this setting was 19-year-old Union forward Danny Mwanga, the first overall pick in MLS's SuperDraft.

After a slow start, Mwanga has come on strong and against United he showed impeccable ball control, quick bursts with the ball, and the ability to unleash a shot quickly.

In the 11th minute Mwanga sent a cross to Alejandro Moreno, whose shot from 12 yards out went right at goalie Tomasz Kusczak.

In the 16th minute, Mwanga, made a great trap on a long ball, chipped the ball to himself and hit a bouncing shot over the goal from inside the box.

Still attacking, in the 17th minute, Eduardo Coudet sent a chip to Le Toux, who just missed getting a head on the ball.

The Union got the better of the play in the first half and then substituted seven players to begin the second half, including goal keeper Brian Perk.

Early in the second half, United's Welbeck's turnaround shot from close range went just wide.

In the 50th minute Mwanga sent Jack McInerney on goal, only to see the 17-year-old forward shoot wide from a right angle.

The Union had another close chance in the 70th minute when Danny Califf got a slight header on Kyle Nakazawa's free kick, just deflecting it wide.

United missed a golden chance to double the lead when Dimitar Berbatov hit the cross bar in the 80th minute.

The Union's final good scoring chance came in the 89th minute when Andrew Jacobson hit Nick Zimmerman's cross wide from close range.

Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or mnarducci@phillynews.com.