How does Major League Soccer hold up against the powers of world football?
A friendly match isn’t exactly the best setting for such a question, but New York-area soccer fans will have a chance to see some sort of answer firsthand this summer.
FC Barcelona will visit the Red Bulls in an exhibition match at 7 p.m. on July 30 at Red Bull Arena, the clubs announced Thursday. It will be the third meeting between the Spanish superclub and the MLS originals, but the first at the home of the Red Bulls in Harrison, New Jersey.
“Since 2010, we have proudly hosted many of the top men's and women's clubs throughout the world and on July 30, we look forward to writing a new chapter in this stadium's history when welcoming Barca for a match against your New York Red Bulls,” said Red Bulls general manager Marc de Grandpré in a news release.
The Red Bulls and Barcelona previously met in 2006 and 2008, both matches occurring at now-demolished Giants Stadium, and both victories for the Catalonians. Ronaldinho scored twice in a 4-1 Barcelona win in ’06 in front of 79,002 fans, a record for a match involving an MLS club at that time. The ’08 match was a 6-2 Barcelona rout seen by 38,152 at the Meadowlands, with Xavi Hernandez and Samuel Eto’o producing goals.
With one match to play in the La Liga season, this year’s Barcelona is set to finish in second, currently 12 points behind rival Real Madrid. Among the scoring leaders for the squad are Memphis Depay, the Dutch forward previously with Manchester United and Lyon, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who joined from Arsenal in February.
The Red Bulls, who’ve made the MLS Cup playoffs in each of the last 12 seasons, sit in fifth place with 20 points about a third of the way through the campaign, yet have failed to win at Red Bull Arena in six matches this year (four draws, two losses).