Real Madrid and AS Roma will kick off each team’s second match of the 2014 Guinness International Champions Cup tomorrow at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. Both teams need a victory as Roma has yet to log a single point in the tournament, and the only point Real has managed to snag came as the result of the team’s loss to Inter in penalty kicks this past weekend. With the arrival of key players, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid will look to defeat Roma on Tuesday.
Despite Real’s loss to Inter, the game saw a great showing from Gareth Bale. The 25-year-old lefty scored a phenomenal goal in the first 10 minutes of the match after Pepe forced a turnover in the midfield and passed it off to Bale.
Real was unable to maintain the lead, and after Inter gained the equalizer in the second half, Real suffered defeat during penalty kicks. Even though Real lost, they were still awarded a single point as per the rules of this year’s International Champions Cup.
Roma, on the other hand, succumbed to the forces of Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United and have logged zero points as a result of the 3-2 loss. After falling behind 3-0 in the first half, Roma substitutes came back to eke out a comeback in the second half. Miralem Pjanić converted a not-so-modest 65-yard ball in the 75th minute and Francesco Totti followed up with a goal in the 88th minute.
Real coach, Carlo Ancelotti, has taken the opportunity to give his younger and less seasoned players some playing time. Sans Cristiano Ronaldo and new signee, James Rodríguez, Ancelotti changed up his tactic for his team’s first match of the International Champions Cup by fielding some of his B team. Last year, Ronaldo was the tournament’s MVP and top-scorer; however, this year Ancelotti had to bypass his superstars to showcase the club’s latest investments. Ancelotti’s strategy is liable to change for Dallas, however.
World Cup veterans Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Luka Modrić arrived to the states last week, and Ronaldo reportedly touched down in Los Angeles on Saturday. With the A team back, Ancelotti may relish the opportunity to field the late-arrivals against Roma on Tuesday.
Ronaldo’s presence on the pitch in Dallas may hinge on the status of a nagging knee injury the player grappled with throughout the World Cup in Brazil. Ramos and Casillas will no doubt look forward to distancing themselves from Spain’s painful performance in Brazil. Casillas in particular will have to give a good showing following a redeeming performance by Jesús Fernández against Inter.
The arrival of the World Cup players will allow for a balance on the pitch whose benefits will be twofold: not only will Real profit from the presence of its game-changing players, but the newcomers will be given the opportunity to mesh with the core of Real’s lineup and thereby stand the chance of integrating themselves in time for season.
Roma coach, Rudi García, will also take advantage of the pre-season tournament by fielding his young and inexperienced players. After his team’s loss to Manchester United, García explained that Roma need to look sharper from the outset. Roma came out strong and out performed a sleeping Manchester United for the initial portion of the first half, however, once the Devils woke up, Roma fell victim to a Wayne Rooney-speared onslaught.
Roma’s starting lineup will likely be as eclectic as it was in the team’s International Champions Cup opener. Ancelotti, on the other hand, has more material to work with after the arrival of some of the more iconic club players, and it should be interesting to see how he pairs the World Cup returners with the club’s recent additions. Real Madrid fans will certainly welcome the arrival of the tournament’s 2013 leading goal-scorer, Ronaldo. Following Tuesday’s match, August 2 will see Real go up against Manchester United while Roma face Inter.
Commentary by Courtney Anderson