Real Madrid secured their first win of pre-season with a 2-0 victory over Juventus which was by far the best performance from the Champions League winners yet this campaign.
It started with a Karim Benzema penalty, converting after Vinícius Junior was brought down in the box, and then finished off by Marco Asensio as he added a second goal after Carlo Ancelotti made 10 substitutions.
Here are three stats which help us to understand the game and some of the highlights of the evening in Los Angeles.
9.31 seconds – How long it took Real Madrid to get the ball in the back of the net
It may have been flagged offside, even if the difference was marginal, but the way Real Madrid started this game was a clear statement of intent.
The long ball over the top from Toni Kroos found three Real Madrid runners and completely caught out the Juventus defense. Had Fede Valverde left the ball to Dani Carvajal who was in behind him, he would have been onside and it could have ended in a legal goal.
In fact, it wasn’t until 9 minutes, 53 seconds, that Juventus completed a pass in the Real Madrid half. Los Blancos started the much better team and dominated the early exchanges by playing with magnificent intensity and control that simply did not allow Juventus a look in.
That was reflected throughout Real Madrid’s play, not only from the dominance of possession or an intriguing kick-off routine, but through an improved press which was far more successful than it had been in the early pre-season games against Barcelona and Club América.
The pre-season matches so far have shown that Ancelotti does want to press with this team, at least more than they did last season, although this was the first time in which it looked to be a coherent strategy which worked for Real Madrid.
2,001 days – The time passed since the last Jesús Vallejo assist
When Marco Asensio applied the finishing touch to a beautiful team move led by Eden Hazard, most Madridistas had to do a double take when they saw who it was playing the final ball across the box. Yes, it really was Jesús Vallejo.
The last time he assisted a goal was against Darmstadt 98 in the Bundesliga on February 5th, 2017, while on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt.
The defender was operating as a left-back in an interesting experiment by Ancelotti, and, to be fair to Vallejo, he did superbly well. He was solid defensively and was unexpectedly dangerous when looking to get forward in possession.
Performances like this one from Vallejo are exactly the kind of strength in depth that Ancelotti will need if Real Madrid are to compete on all fronts this season.
It also shows that, while it has primarily been quietly in the background, Vallejo is growing and improving as a player. This flexibility and ability to play on the left could be what helps him to break into the team more regularly.
The arrival of Antonio Rüdiger puts him even further down the pecking order, already behind Éder Militão, David Alaba and Nacho, but he could find an in by establishing himself as an alternative on the left where the competition is not so great.
93,702 – Fans in attendance at the Rose Bowl
Los Angeles produced the biggest attendance at any club-level football match in the 2022 calendar year to date.
It was a clear indicator of why Real Madrid, Juventus, and other clubs head to the United States for their pre-season tours where American fans are desperate to see their heroes on home turf.
This time, Madridistas got to see a victory for their team on American soil for the first time since a 2-1 win over Roma in 2018 at the MetLife Stadium. That game came, ironically, only three days after a 3-1 win over the same opposition, Juventus, with Marco Asensio on the scoresheet in that game too.
The reception for Real Madrid has been incredible throughout their tour and it has shown the growing power of the club’s brand, which was able to bring in sell-out crowds in Las Vegas, San Francisco and now LA.
Footage of Florentino Pérez swamped by fans seeking an autograph or a photo together only goes to show that Real Madrid’s reputation is growing beyond the simple silverware and superstars on the field.
The club has gained 740,000 followers on Twitter over the few weeks in which Real Madrid have been in the US and such statistics only reinforce the reasoning behind making a trip across the world as part of the club’s pre-season regime.
It’s also a boost for LaLiga as a whole, with Barcelona and Celta Vigo also touring the US this summer, although the attendance at the Rose Bowl shows that Real Madrid have once again come out on top.