Barcelona lost their first game of preseason thanks to a second half collapse that led to a big 4-2 win for AS Roma in Dallas, Texas. The Blaugrana once again looked fantastic in the first half when all of his experienced players were on the pitch, but a ten-minute collapse by the young Barça B boys in the second half against a strong Roma team led to what looks like a bad result, but a result that doesn’t really matter in the end. It’s preseason.
The first 20 minutes of the first period belonged completely to Barça, who looked just as good as they did against Tottenham. The passing was sensational, and saying Arthur looked like Xavi really is not an exaggeration. The Brazilian was pointing to where every pass should go, and whenever he was on the ball the team was in control and dangerous.
The goal came early when Rafinha made a one-two with Munir and fired home a really nice volley. But once Roma man-marked Arthur and targeted Rafinha with some really hard challenges for a preseason game, Barça lost their momentum and we saw more of an even game, even though the Blaugrana had the lion’s share of possession for the entire half. The Italians looked better as we approached halftime, and Stephan El Shaarawy scored a deserved equalizer for Roma.
At halftime, a very competitive and fun game was all even. We would probably see a lot of substitutions ahead of the second half, which was kind of sad because we were watching a really good match.
Ernesto Valverde decided not to change his entire team at halftime and changed just six players this time around, and it worked: Barça looked more composed as a group with a mix of first- and second-teamers, and they took the lead once again when Ballou found Malcom who scored his debut goal for the Catalans.
At the 60-minute mark both coaches decided to make wholesale changes and we got a full Barça B side for the final half hour of the game. And as we saw against Tottenham, once the kids were faced with experienced, international players, they struggled a lot. The defense was once again pretty bad, and a mistake by the backline led to Alessandro Florenzi scoring a weird equalizer with just over 10 minutes to go.
Just five minutes later, Bryan Cristante somehow found himself in loads of space in the box and just beat Japser Cillessen to give Roma the lead. There was more to come when Chumi fouled Patrik Schick inside the box. Diego Perotti buried the penalty with ease and Roma doubled their lead.
And just like that, in a span of just eight minutes, Roma scored three unanswered goals and won the game. The result doesn’t matter, but the Barça B kids still look very timid and completely lost with the increased speed of first team football. That’s fine for preseason, but it’s hard to see any of these boys helping us this season.
Barça will finish their United States tour with a friendly against AC Milan at the weekend, and hopefully we see more than just 45 minutes from the first team players who looked extremely good once again.
Barcelona: Cillessen; Semedo (Palencia), Marlon (Chumi), Lenglet (Cuenca), Cucurella (Miranda); Rafinha (Collado), Roberto (Monchu), Arthur (Puig); Malcom (Pérez), Munir (Ruiz), Vidal (Ballou)
Goals: Rafinha (6’), Malcom (49’)
Roma: Olsen (Mirante); Florenzi, Manolas (Jesus), Marcano (Fazio), Santon (Pellegrini); Pellegrini (Cristante), De Rossi (Gonalons), Strootman (Pastore); Kluivert (Perotti), Dzeko (Schick), El Shaarawy (Kolarov)
Goals: El Shaarawy (35’), Florenzi (78’), Cristante (83’), Perotti (86’)