Rafinha gave Barcelona a 1-0 lead before Justin Kluivert fed Stephan El Shaarawy to leave it level at the break in Arlington.
New winger Malcom restored Barca’s lead from an assist courtesy former Montreal Impact man Ballou Tabla, but that was about all she wrote for the Blaugranas. Alessandro Florenzi, Bryan Cristante, and Diego Perotti scored thrice in eight minutes to hand Barca its first loss of the preseason.
Atletico Madrid topped Arsenal 1-1 (3-1 on PKs) at the Singapore National Stadium, with an unlikely player proving to be the difference in the match.
Atleti goalkeeper Antonio Adán showed his best stuff in the shootout, making three saves to stop Arsenal from the penalty spot, but it was the shot-stopper that gave Atleti the victory with a penalty of his own.
After making several key saves, Adan stepped up from the penalty spot to put the game to bed in the fifth round of the shootout.
The Gunners had trailed after 41 minutes when Luciano Vietto gave Atletico the lead going into the halftime break.
However, Arsenal equalized just two minutes into the second stanza with a brilliant strike from youngster Emile Smith-Rowe curled his effort from distance into the top corner.
Unai Emery and Arsenal will continue their ICC tour on Saturday against Paris Saint-Germain, while Atletico will also take on PSG on July 30 in their next fixture.
Fabinho was fortunate to not give a penalty away to Lukas Nmecha within the first quarter hour. Riyad Mahrez found Nmecha in the box and Loris Karius put the rebound back to the player. Fabinho made contact with the back of Nmecha’s leg before the player popped the ball over a goal, but what followed was only a corner kick.
Fabinho then fouled former NYCFC midfielder Jack Harrison moments later.
Curtis Jones provided rare early danger for Liverpool, but Claudio Bravo had little trouble with the youngster’s shot.
Man City’s Riyad Mahrez was the bright spot of the first half hour for both teams.
Jones forced Bravo into another low save in the 33rd minute. He’d later be whistle for a perceived dive in the 43rd minute, but this was clearly a man not in the penalty-giving mood.
Liverpool made plenty of halftime changes, and Sadio Mane nearly scored in the 48th minute.
Caoimhin Kelleher stopped a Leroy Sane effort in the 53rd minute. At the other end, Solanke had a goal pulled back for offside.
That’s when Sane scored a beautiful goal, using his speed to get behind the Liverpool back line before hammering a shot inside the far post that bounded into the top of the goal.
Salah subbed into the game, and scored a headed goal moments later. He was offside, but the fans were pleased and the linesman didn’t spot it.
After coming on as a sub, Mohamed Salah scores with about his third touch for Liverpool v Man City. Great header to make it 1-1… but he was just offside when the cross came in
Naturally, American fans are very interested in anything Christian Pulisic, and PST is very interested in how a club like BVB goes about marketing one of the first internationally recognizable U.S. teen stars (or at least the first of serious consequence since Landon Donovan).
Near hat tricks market themselves — Pulisic had two goals and played a huge part in the third as Loris Karius parried his shot right to Jacob Bruun Larsen — but there’s plenty more to our discussion with BVB marketing director Carsten Cramer.
ProSoccerTalk: BVB is a gigantic club with ahuge fan base already here, but the growing interest of the American market is clearly ripe to become someone’s new favorite club. How do you balance the need to cater to both on a trip like this?
Carsten Cramer: “You described it well and with the right words. We know about the interest of Americans in football generally, and we also know that a club like Borussia Dortmund which is a little bit different from the other big clubs and seems to draw the attention of American people as well. If you know these two characteristics of the American market, it’s a kind of logical consequence that a club like Dortmund which has internationalization as very important for growth, makes a decision to come to the U.S. after traveling three years in a row to Asia. Christian Pulisic is one of the Top 11 in our team. Although we had a difficult season, he played a good one. He’s now 19. He’s at the right age to lead and run this team for the U.S. visit.”
PST: How would you compare traveling to the U.S. with Pulisic to heading to Japan with Shinji Kagawa?
CC: “It’s always good if you have a player from the market. They are definitely a door opener. It’s a kind of similar situation. Christian has become one of the superstars in American soccer and he made his first steps in football, so it might be a little bit different to Shinji Kagawa who had made his first steps in Japan.”
PST: We’re sure the club has seen a bump in interest from American audiences. Is there a way to measure the impact he’s had, especially as BVB battles for new fans?
CC: “We are a powerful club but we are definitely not comparable with the Real Madrids and Manchester Uniteds, so they are even bigger. But we do have very very attractive door opener, who makes it easier to meet people, especially the young generation. In the young generation, football has a higher relevance. If you have one of their generation wearing a black and yellow shirt, it gives us a deeper and more intense impact than without him. We analyze the digital reach, the followers when we present to the American public.
“It’s the frosting on the cake. The cake is always delicious if it’s a black and yellow one, but if you can taste the black and yellow one including Christian Pulisic, it’s an awesome cake.”
PST: The black and yellow of Dortmund has a bit in common with the sports teams of Pittsburgh, where you’ll play this week. Does the club have a lot of say in where they play as part of the ICC?
CC: “For us it was important when we agreed in the ICC that we play in the more Eastern parts of the states. We started with LAFC for the opening of Banc of California Stadium. Then we said we don’t want to go to the West Coast again and if it would be possible we’d love to go to Chicago because of a big German community and many many Polish people.
“Chicago was naturally seeded, than Charlotte is attractive because there are many German business there. And then they offered Pittsburgh and we said that’s cool because there’s a side of parallelism between the city history of Pittsburgh and Dortmund. Both have an industrial background like steel and coal, and Pittsburgh has the black and yellow, and is not that far from where Christian’s from in Hershey.”
PST: You have another interesting international addition in Jadon Sancho, formerly from Manchester City. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there hasn’t been a British player on Dortmund for some time and it doesn’t happen a ton in the Bundesliga. What does that say?
CC: “He’s the first one from the island we took, but he’s one of many many young players who’s fully convinced that Dortmund is the right club for his stage of their career.
“The reputation we do have is we build stars, we never buy stars. We build them, we make them, we develop them. The education of young talented players is one of the core pieces of Borussia Dortmund.”
“It was not difficult to convince Jadon. After one year of playing for us, he saw he could trust us. He’s a very talented guy and he can commit that the step to Dortmund was the right one. He’s the first one from the UK, but he was one of many Europeans who see they have an opportunity to play for the club.”
PST: This may be a goofy question, but what’s the focus of your job domestically? It doesn’t seem like a historically-big Borussia Dortmund needs to do a ton to prop itself up in Germany, so what’s critical to the marketing of BVB?
CC: “First of all, our core business is football. Marketing is just an appendix. We have a very simple job. We have to clean the window. We have to put in the window what makes people want to open the door and come into the Dortmund store. We have nice talented attractive players. The only job we have is presenting Borussia Dortmund as authentic, as credible as possible. Then marketing is very easy. Don’t tell them an artificial story. Make the players touchable, accessible. Give the people the feeling that we are really interested, that there is no big distance between the supporters and us, and you may have seen when we arrived at the public terminal at the Chicago airport. That’s our marketing. The more people we can attract, the more hearts we can gain, the more successful our marketing activities have been.”