Real Madrid’s final ICC match concludes with a satisfying win against Roma in New Jersey. Goals from Marco Asensio and Gareth Bale early on sealed the victory, and Real Madrid coasted to a comfortable and stylish win.
Bullet points from Kiyan’s notebook
- Real Madrid started with a 4-3-3, and the collective shape and cohesiveness of the team was impressive throughout. The front three of Benzema, Bale, and Asensio pressed efficiently — allowing Roma’s goalkeeper, Olsen, some space, while cutting off the passing lanes to the defenders in front of him. All of Ceballos, Kroos, and Isco followed suit to block outlets. Real Madrid were able to retain possession well with their press (which has been good all pre-season); and while Roma did the same early on and forced Real Madrid into a couple deep turnovers, they were blown away by Lopetegui-ball and had no answer for the surging, positional build-up.
- I’ve enjoyed the lack of offensive stagnancy. It’s refreshing to see so much off-ball movement and a clear plan moving forward. There are triangles, players dropping, players shifting wide, players cutting, players playing off the shoulder of the defensive live — it’s always dynamic. Tonight it peaked (as far things can peak in a preseason). Roma were a jumbled mess defensively, but Real Madrid were just really comfortable finding outlets. Case-in-point Real Madrid’s second goal, where Roma didn’t defend well, but both Asensio and Benzema dropped to provide options, while Bale punished a high, sparse line:
- Welcome back Sergio Ramos! Not much to do tonight, but did handle Dzeko (who was generally Roma’s only threat) and cleared away some crosses. Nacho also looked good dealing with Dzeko when Ramos left the pitch at half-time.
- Another solid showing from Sergio Reguilion defensively. Offensively, he struggled with unsuccessful dribbles and crosses, but he did constantly provide surging overloads which provided the central midfielders with good diagonal options.
- Roma really just looked dead, if we’re being honest. Di Francesco was frustrated that his team couldn’t conjure up anything and looked so vulnerable defending vertical passes. Their goal came late after Real Madrid’s Castilla defenders, Jose Leon and Javi Sanchez, couldn’t clear a routine ball in the box. Unfortunate, by the way, given Castilla had a great defensive record last season and both Leon and Sanchez were a huge part of it. It’s hard to read much into it either way. Jose Leon’s clock has been ticking for a while and he won’t make the first team, and Javi Sanchez has looked shaky in the past three matches.
- Keylor’s passing out of the back tonight was tremendous.
- Dani Carvajal still not himself. He looked fine in the first half, but gave the ball away needlessly a few times in the second, and had some trouble dealing with Justin Kluivert who entered the game at half-time.
- Loved: the defensive work and passing of Dani Ceballos, and Valverde’s ability to read the passing lanes.
- Alpha Bale!