Chicago’s Soldier Field will host the final fixture in Real Madrid’s US tour as they take on the MLS All-Stars. Zidane’s men enter this game without a single win in preseason. A draw against Manchester United, a loss to Manchester City, and a loss to eternal rivals Barcelona have left most fans disappointed. Wednesday night’s match is the last opportunity to gain some confidence and improve fitness levels before the European Super Cup.
In the first three games of the tour, Zidane has put out what most would consider his starting XI with the players he has available. He has surprisingly given limited minutes to the Spanish U-21 contingent of Dani Ceballos, Marcos Llorente, Jesus Vallejo, and Borja Mayoral as well as new signing Theo Hernandez. That should change this Wednesday. Zidane talked to the press on Tuesday ahead of the game and said those with limited game time thus far would see more action.
Youngsters like Kovacic and Asensio have been the bright spots during the tour, so players like Ceballos and Llorente will look to follow their lead. It will be interesting to see what line-ups Zidane chooses for the match. Will he mix things up? Could we potentially see Kovacic and Ceballos play together?
Regardless of personnel selected, the MLS All-Stars will be no push-overs. Each year they get up for these games, just ask Pep Guardiola who was furious with some of the tackles and intensity seen in last year’s match. The MLS squad will be licking their lips at the chance to beat the reigning European champions. It is an opportunity for guys like Kaka or Bastian Schweinsteiger to prove, to themselves and to the world, they can still compete at a high level. Players like David Villa ooze class. The Spaniard is a prolific goal-scorer in the league. Then there is the talented Italian playmaker, Sebastian Giovinco, in his prime and arguably the best player in the league. Many fans of MLS as well as fans abroad, feel Giovinco deserves a National team call-up. These players will be buzzing to prove a point against Madrid.
It is true, the goal in preseason is for the squad to improve fitness levels and gain some rhythm, with the score line being relatively irrelevant. But, this is Real Madrid and this group of players never want to lose; they are simply too competitive. Fans should expect to see tighter defensive lines and greater dynamic attacking play as the royal whites approach their final preseason game looking to fine tune their engines.
Predicted Line Up: Casilla; Nacho, Vallejo, Ramos, Theo; Llorente, Ceballos, Kroos; Lucas Vazquez, Benzema, Isco.
Predicted Score: Real Madrid 3 (Benzema, Isco, Asensio) – MLS All Stars 1 (David Villa)