Louis van Gaal
Manchester United began their 2014 pre-season tour with a 7-0 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, CaliforniaAFP

Manchester United have announced the dates and majority of venues for their slightly shortened four-game pre-season tour of the United States.

Louis van Gaal's side will begin their defence of the International Champions Cup with a fixture against Club America at CenturyLink Field in Seattle on 17 July, before meeting Major League Soccer outfit the San Jose Earthquakes four days later at a location yet to be confirmed.

The tour will then move to Santa Clara on 25 July, where the Red Devils face La Liga leaders Barcelona at Levi's Stadium. The club's last game will come against Paris Saint-Germain at Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears NFL franchise, on 29 July.

Manchester United won the competition in 2014 following victory over Liverpool in Miami, but Van Gaal was quick to register his irritation at the large distances his squad had to travel for five matches in five different states in addition to the number of commercial obligations.

As a result, it was widely thought that such concerns would be appeased this year with Manchester United expected to reach a compromise by agreeing to a shorter schedule that would see them stay primarily in one west coast location.

While the specific travel arrangements and details of the club's accommodation plans have yet to be disclosed, previous reports have suggested that Seattle has been investigated as a potential base from which they can fly to the three fixtures they will contest away from the pacific north west.

"Manchester United has a great history of visiting these US cities, creating memorable experiences for players and fans that date back as far as the 1950s," Manchester United group managing director Richard Arnold told the club's official website.

"Tour 2015, presented by Aon, will allow the team to train at some of the best facilities in the world and play in front of thousands of passionate US supporters at first-class stadiums.

"After this month's Manchester derby broke records to become the most-watched Premier League match in US cable television history, the club is excited to be returning to the United States at a time when the appetite for football is greater than ever."

The format of the cup will be slightly different in 2015, with the straightforward group stage/final format giving way to a slightly convoluted system in which each team will play four games before the winner is determined from whoever has accumulated the most points.

Chelsea are also set to feature in the latest edition of the tournament with matches against the New York Red Bulls, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain over a six-day period in the US before a meeting with Fiorentina at Stamford Bridge on 5 August.