In just a short amount of time, Juventus will take the field for their first game on United States soil in four years. The first game of that United States tour was in San Francisco, being played at a baseball stadium, was against Everton and had yours truly sitting behind one of the goals. This time around, the stage is a wee bit bigger.
The stakes are nowhere close to what they were back in April, obviously. It’s the first friendly of the summer, so it’s not exactly got the fate of an entire European campaign hanging on it. But as Juventus get ready to step onto the field against Barcelona at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, they are officially beginning the work toward that end goal of another deep Champions League run.
The summer has been eventful. There’s no denying that. We’ve seen one of Juve’s pillars of success the past six seasons head out because he needed a change of scenery. We’ve seen Juventus add a player in Douglas Costa that will make things a little more interesting down the left wing. We’ve seen Dani Alves be replaced by Mattia De Sciglio. We’re about to see Federico Bernardeschi arrive from one of Juve’s biggest domestic rivals.
It’s not like we haven’t had things to talk about when it comes to the transfer market.
But now we get to talk about a Juventus game. Like, 11 Juventus players facing 11 Barcelona players. It’s a friendly, sure, but it’s also the first Juventus game we’ve been able to watch, react to and then analyze since that stupid Saturday night in Cardiff back on June 3.
This is good. I don’t want to keep looking back through the archives and see the last Juventus game we talked about was a 4-1 loss to Real Madrid. Enough of that nonsense. This game won’t mean anything in the standings, we’ll probably see the starters play 45 minutes or so and then it’s to the bench Max Allegri will go, but I don’t care. It’s a Juventus game and being broadcast live on my television at home in high definition. And I can’t lie, I’ve missed watching these fools the last seven weeks.
Location: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Kick-off time: 6 p.m. local time in New Jersey; 3 p.m. on the West Coast; 12 a.m. in Italy; 11 p.m. in the United Kingdom
Juventus starting XI: Gianluigi Buffon; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Medhi Benatia, Andrea Barzagli, Kwadwo Asamoah; Sami Khedira, Claudio Marchisio; Stefano Sturaro, Mario Lemina, Rodrigo Bentancur; Mario Mandzukic
Barcelona starting XI: Jasper Cillessen; Alex Vidal, Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Lucas Digne; Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic, Sergi Samper; Lionel Messi, Neymar, Paco Alcacer
TV: TLN (Canada); ESPN, ESPN Deportes USA (United States); Premier Sports (United Kingdom); PremiumSport HD (Italy)
Online/Mobile: ESPN3, WatchESPN (United States); PremiumPlay (Italy)
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