Barcelona will continue their preparations for the 2022-23 campaign with a pre-season friendly against MLS outfit New York Red Bulls in New Jersey on Saturday night. The Catalan outfit will enter the contest off the back of a 2-2 draw with Juventus on Tuesday, while the Red Bulls suffered a 5-1 loss to Orlando City in the US Open Cup on Wednesday. New York Red Bulls are 22 matches into their MLS season, boasting a total of 36 points, which has left them in third position in the Eastern Conference, six points behind leaders Philadelphia Union. The Red Bulls recorded a 4-3 victory over Austin in their last league match on July 24, but they will enter this contest off the back of a 5-1 defeat to Orlando City in the US Open Cup on Wednesday night.
Gerhard Struber’s side will be back in league action against Colorado Rapids on August 2, but the chance to take on Barcelona does not come around too often, so the club will currently be focusing on this contest, even if they have much more important fixtures ahead. Head coach Struber will certainly make full use of his squad in this match, with the Austrian expected to use the majority of his first-team players against the Catalan giants. The club’s supporters will also be demanding a response from their team following the disappointing defeat to Orlando City, which saw them fail to advance to the final of the competition against Sacramento Republic.
Barcelona, meanwhile, will enter the contest off the back of a 2-2 draw with Italian giants Juventus on Tuesday night; an entertaining contest in Texas saw Ousmane Dembele and Moise Kean both score braces, and Xavi’s side are now preparing for their final pre-season friendly of the summer. The Catalan giants have played four times during pre-season, opening their preparations for the new campaign with a 1-1 draw against Olot on July 13, while their first two matches of their United States tour saw them beat Inter Miami 6-0 and Real Madrid 1-0. Xavi’s team will face Pumas UNAM in the Joan Gamper Trophy on August 7 before beginning their 2022-23 La Liga campaign at home to Rayo Vallecano on August 13.
Barcelona, despite their financial issues, have managed to boost their squad with the arrivals of Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski this summer, while a deal for Sevilla’s Jules Kounde has also allegedly been agreed. The Catalan outfit will be bidding to challenge Real Madrid for the La Liga title in the new season, while they will also be hoping to make a bigger impression in Europe, having gone out in the group stage of the Champions League and quarter-finals of the Europa League last term. New York Red Bulls will be without the services of AJ Marcucci due to a shoulder problem, while head coach Struber will need to assess the fitness of his players following the clash with Orlando.
English midfielder Dru Yearwood is likely to come into the starting side, while there is also expected to be a role in the XI for 19-year-old Caden Clark. The MLS outfit are likely to line up in a 3-4-3 formation, with Omir Fernandez and Patryk Klimala potentially being joined by 17-year-old Serge Ngoma in the final third. Scottish midfielder Lewis Morgan, who has scored nine league goals this season, should also be in the XI for the Red Bulls. As for Barcelona, Ronald Araujo and Pedri were both rested against Juventus last time out, but the pair are expected to return to the starting XI on Saturday night.
Sergi Roberto is a doubt, though, with the Spaniard being withdrawn in the first half of the game with the Italian giants due to a knock, so Sergino Dest could feature at right-back. Head coach Xavi will make changes to the side that started against the Old Lady, with Gavi, Raphinha and Ansu Fati potentially joining Araujo, Pedri and Dest in the starting side. Lewandowski is yet to get off the mark for his new club but should again lead the attack, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Dembele likely to drop down to the bench.
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