Barcelona are continuing their preparations for the upcoming season of football and will face Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls in another pre-season friendly in New Jersey on Saturday night. The site from Catalunya are arriving into this match on the back of a 2-2 draw with Juventus in Dallas. Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls suffered a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Orlando City in the US Open Cup on Wednesday.
It has been a long and gruelling season for New York Red Bulls as they are 22 matches into their Major League Soccer season. During that. They have picked up a total of 36 points, which sees them in the third position in the Eastern Conference zone. The Red Bulls trail table-toppers Philadelphia Union by six points.
In their most recent league match, the side from New York ended up winning their match 4-3 in Austin on July 24. However, they haven’t been in good form as they are arriving into this contest after succumbing to a painful 5-1 loss at the hands of Orlando City in the US Open Cup on Wednesday night.
Gerhard Struber’s team will be resuming their regular MLS league action once again when they take on Colorado Rapids on August 2 but before that, they are set to collide with the mighty FC Barcelona. An opportunity as big as this doesn’t come around too often and therefore, the club will be focusing on making the most out of this particular contest, even though it may prove to be inconsequential compared to some of their other matches going ahead.
Struber will certainly be looking to make a big impression and will be hoping to make full use of the capacity of his squad. The Austrian might even field the majority of his first team players against the Spanish heavyweights.
Given that they failed so miserably against Orlando City in their last encounter which prevented their progress to the final of the US Open Cup against the Sacramento Republic, fans of New York Red Bulls will be demanding a strong and encouraging response on the pitch. There’s no better way to provide that other than by pulling off an upset against one of the best teams in the world.
Barcelona, on the other hand, have already found success on their tour of the United States. They demolished Inter Miami in Miami 6-0, then beat arch-rivals Real Madrid 1-0 in the Clasico in Las Vegas. Barcelona were then held to a 2-2 draw with Juventus in Dallas on Tuesday. Ousmane Dembele scored a spectacular brace. Both goals came from him dribbling past the Juventus full-backs, cutting inside, fooling them and shooting. However, the side from Turin restored parity in the contest through Moise Kean who also got a brace.
The adventure in New York will represent the final leg of Xavi’s team’s preparation for the upcoming season. Besides and in training, the Barcelona hierarchy has also been quite busy outside the pitch, trying to grow the Barca brand. Partnerships with their sponsor Spotify, tie-ups and promotions with their NBA team and the sale of the first NFT in Barcelona history as well as frequent interviews have been some of the major items on their agenda.
Barcelona will return back to Spain after this encounter in New York, where Xavi’s team will take on Pumas UNAM in the annual curtain raiser event Joan Gamper Trophy on August 7. They will begin their 2022-23 La Liga campaign with a match at home against Rayo Vallecano on August 13.
Despite their financial woes off the pitch as well as their debt, Barcelona have been quite busy in the summer transfer market and, in fact, are the club that has spent the most money. Most of their signings have been absolutely top drawer. Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen arrived on a free transfer following the expiry of their contracts, while Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski came from Leeds United and Bayern Munich respectively. Barcelona also beat Chelsea in the race to sign Jules Kounde, who is one of the most promising center-backs in world football, from Sevilla.
Few teams have improved their squads as drastically as Barcelona have this summer. They now have the necessary tools and resources to not only challenge Real Madrid for the La Liga title this season after failing to win since 2019, but to also make a deep Champions League run and restore the club’s status and prestige back among the European elite. The pressure will be on Xavi to manage egos, keep his strong squad happy and healthy and achieve success with titles this season.
RNY vs BAR, Club Friendly 2022/23
Date: 31st July, 2022
Time: 4:30 AM IST
Venue: Red Bull Arena, New York
New York Red Bulls form (all competitions):
Barcelona Club Friendlies form:
Barcelona form (all competitions):
New York Red Bulls wins: 0
Barcelona wins: 2
New York Red Bulls Team News:
New York Red Bulls are expected to miss the services of AJ Marcucci who is nursing a shoulder injury. Head coach Gerhard Struber will be strict about testing and assessing his players’ fitness following the intense clash with Orlando.
The Red Bulls might start with English midfielder Dru Yearwood who and there might be room for 19-year-old Caden Clark in the starting XI against Barcelona.
It won’t be surprising to see Struber deploy a 3-4-3 formation. Omir Fernandez and Patryk Klimala could receive the nod in the final third and might be joined by 17-year-old Serge Ngoma. Scottish midfielder Lewis Morgan, who has scored nine goals this season could also start from the first minute for New York Red Bulls.
Barcelona Team News:
For Barcelona, defensive and midfield young jewels Ronald Araujo and Pedri were both rested against Juventus and the pair is expected to return to the starting XI on Saturday night against New York Red Bulls. Ferran Torres’ recovery from injury has been slow and Xavi is unlikely to risk him in the final friendly match on United States soil.
Sergi Roberto’s participation is also in doubt after the Spaniard was withdrawn from the pitch in the first half which may have been because of a knock. American full-back Sergino Dest is expected to take his place instead.
Head coach Xavi will likely make several changes to the lineup that started against the Old Lady of Turin in Dallas. Ansu Fati, Raphinha, Gavi are also expected to be reinstated into the first XI alongside Araujo and Pedri.
While Robert Lewandowski is yet to get his first goal in the Blaugrana shirt after two appearances, he should lead the line once again and his former Dortmund teammate Pierre Emerick Aubameyang is expected to play the second half along with last match’s hero Ousmane Dembele.
New York Red Bulls possible starting lineup:
Coronel; Edwards, Nealis, Long, Tolkin; Morgan, Yearwood; Clark, Fernandez, Ngoma; Klimala
Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Dest, Christensen, Araujo, Alba; Gavi, Busquets, Pedri; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Fati
Barcelona have had little to no problems finding the back of the net and have scored nine goals during their three pre-season fixtures in the United States this summer. They have shown a high level of performance and Xavi continues to impress with what he has been asking from his players.
The Catalan giants will also be expected to score several goals in this encounter against a New York Red Bulls side that have been under the hammer, especially after the defeat in Orlando. Barcelona will be desperate to avoid any injuries on the last leg of their US tour and might opt for caution. However, given the huge gap in quality, they are expected to be the outright winners of this contest in New York.