Barcelona kicked off its pre-season in a nice way, beating LA Galaxy at the Rose Bowl in front of over 92,000-plus fans to debut in the International Champions Cup with a strong victory and a good performance.
Without Neymar and Lionel Messi among others, the Blaugrana had an alternative lineup but still dominated the whole match. It was a typical "Barça vs Bus" game. The MLS side was very organized on defense, mostly using a six-man line in front of goal to try and stop the attacking united led by Luis Suárez. For almost the entire first half, Barça was limited to patiently passing the ball around in search for the better chance, using Pedro and Rafinha as escape valves on the wings and unsuccessful outside shots.
But in the 45th minute, the Catalan side finally broke through with a goal from Suárez, after a weird/cool play that might have involved a handball from the Barça striker.
With a totally new team in the second half that featured Barça B stars like Samper, Sandro, Munir, Gumbau and Halilovic, the Blaugrana got a second goal with Sergi Roberto. After that, Luis Enrique's team mostly passed their way to the end of the game. With one minute left, however, a defensive miscue on a corner-kick saw the Galaxy get their lone goal from Meyer, but it was too late to change the outcome of the match, which ended in a convincing Barça victory.
1. The new kits look badass. When they were first released, a considerable number of Barça fans were outraged by the decision to change the historical vertical stripes to horizontal ones. But for the first time, we got to see the players actually wearing them on the pitch for 90 minutes, and the new kits are awesome. From the jersey to the socks, it's really cool. Good job, Nike.
2. Busquets and Rakitic are ridiculous. For the two starting Barça midfielders, it didn't even seem like a pre-season debut after a 45-day vacation. They were both perfect at their jobs. Sergio flawlessly protected the back four and began the build up from the defensive box. Rakitic was ridiculously sharp for a game this early in the season, not running as much but passing beautifully and becoming the main focus of every single possession. They were awesome, and it was kind of sad not to see them for the whole 90 minutes.
3. Barça's future is just fine. Luis Enrique tested a bunch of youngsters, and judging by what we saw tonight, we can safely say these guys will definitely be important pieces of the next winning generation for the Blaugrana. Samper was spectacular, Gumbau had a nice game, Halilovic was incisive and Sandro attacked the defense in every opportunity. The kids were fearless, and had the support of the coach to take chances. They'll play against United and Chelsea as well, and these few weeks with the big guys will prove vital once they start to join the first team on competitive games in the near future.