You don’t need to dive all that deep into the statistic pool to know that Real Madrid was the dominant side in Wednesday night’s Soccer Champions Tour finale in Orlando, Florida. No matter where you looked on the stat sheet, it was essentially Real Madrid having the advantage — and doing so by a rather wide margin.
Except for the most important stat of them all.
Yep, the goals scored.
Meeting Real Madrid for a second consecutive summer, things went a little bit differently than last year in Southern California. Well, at least the final score was — which was a very welcome sight for those of us feeling rather down about Juventus’ prospects this coming season. As much as Real Madrid dominated the proceedings like they did 12 months ago, it was Juventus that was the team that proved to be much more efficient in front of goal, riding first-half strikes from Moise Kean and Timothy Weah to claim a 3-1 win over the Spanish giants to wrap up the United States tour on a high note.
But seriously, you gotta get a load of these final stats because they’re kinda hilarious:
You can guess which team is on which side pretty easily simply based on the first number that’s listed, the total amount of shots taken, and go from there. It was one sided as one sided gets, but guess who had the lead after less than a minute? That would be Juventus, which saw Kean cooly slot home the rebound of a Weston McKennie strike that clanged off the post. Twenty minutes in and Juve held a 2-0 lead thanks to Weah, who combined with his USMNT teammate McKennie on a fantastic goal on the counterattack.
Being two goals up ... on Real Madrid ... after 20 minutes? What in the world?
Yet, that happened Thursday night. It actually did! I saw it on my computer screen!
The thing is, as much as we can chalk up poor performances to “EH! IT’S JUST THE SUMMER!” whenever we want, we can also apply that to wins. Sorry, but it’s true. These results, as much as popping your collar whenever you see a Real Madrid fan on the street and remind them about what happened on this night in Florida, it’s not going to dictate just how good or poor Juve’s Serie A season is going to be. We know that. We’ve always known that.
But just like the win on penalties against Milan last week, there were good signs to take out of this game against Real Madrid. Just a few:
- Kean has continued to look really, really good this summer and is clearly playing with a whole lot of confidence and swagger to boot.
- Dusan Vlahovic made a late-game appearance — and scored a goal, too.
- Federico Gatti rebounded after a tough showing against Milan to hold his own against easily one of the best attackers in world football today.
- McKennie back???
Basically what I’m trying to say is that this night, unlike the one against Real Madrid last summer, was not a total wash. This team is so very much in flux and in a state of uncertainty regarding some of its biggest names that simply who’s leading the line in Juve’s season opener three weeks from now could be different. At the very least, though, Juve’s plan of being a team that wanted to play on the counterattack seemed to work well at times Thursday night.
And let’s face it, whether it’s a friendly or the complete opposite on the European stage, beating Real Madrid will put a smile on my face — and I’m guessing I’m not the only one.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- My stream hadn’t even completely loaded yet and Juve already had a 1-0 lead. Thanks, Moise.
- THRITY-FOUR SHOTS AND ONE GOAL WOWWWWWWWWW
- Seriously, though. That’s crazy. I know Szczesny and Pinsoglio made some good saves, but if you’re attempting 34 shots and scoring just one goal against this Juventus side — friendly or no friendly — then you’re probably wondering what the state of your attack is.
- Dancing Moise Kean is fun. I like when he dances. I want him to dance more often. Hopefully this is the season where he can dance on a consistent basis.
- My takeaway on Real Madrid’s goal: Vinicius is very fast.
- OK, one more takeaway from Real Madrid’s goal: That pass from Toni Kroos was wonderful.
- Alex Sandro led Juventus with the most first-half touches with 29.
- The guy who was third on the list of Juve players with the most touches? Wojciech Szczesny with 24. Seriously. It was the starting goalkeeper.
- If this U.S. tour was a time where Timothy Weah wanted to make a good first impression, I’d say he’s done just that. That man with his speed is going to be a serious threat on the counter — and that’s going to be very fun to watch.
- Another solid night of preseason play from Federico Chiesa. Maybe not the same kind of level as against Milan, but it was far from a wash. Well, except from when he barely touched the ball in the second half and I kinda forgot he was still on the field. (I’ll just blame it on the fact that the mass substitutions are confusing.)
- Federico Gatti came off the bench and immediately saw himself staring down a Real Madrid side that had just peppered Juve’s goal for much of the first half. On top of that, he was essentially tasked with trying to stop Vinicius Jr., one of the most electrifying talents there currently is. Throw in Real Madrid then bringing on Rodrygo and Gatti’s side of the field was simply loaded with attacking power, pace and all kinds of tricks. But let me tell you this: our beloved former bricklayer held his own. Well done, Mr. Cats.
- Dusan Vlahovic scored, popped his jersey alla Paulo Dybala four years ago and I smiled. I want him to stay. I really, really do.
- I mean, if Weston McKennie plays like this going forward, maybe him not being sold isn’t the worst thing in the world? I don’t know, maybe he’s openly auditioning for some club to come sign him before September arrives. Or maybe he’s trying to convince Max Allegri to let him stay. Either way, McKennie played pretty dang well against Real Madrid — and we all know what kind of midfield they have on their hands.
- I still can’t believe Juventus won a game in which they blocked more shots than they attempted. That’s just silly. I sure as hell hope it’s not a trend we see much of during the actual 2023-24 season, but you never really know with Max Allegri, do you?