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The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California is the venue for FC Barcelona’s first friendly of the 2015/16 preseason, which kicks off at 8.00pm on Tuesday local time and early Wednesday morning back in Barcelona at 5.00am CET. A crowd of over 90,000 is expected to watch as the Catalans face current Major League Soccer (MLS) champions Los Angeles Galaxy in the first of their four games in the International Champions Cup. Three of those games are being played in the USA. After Galaxy, Barça will take on Manchester United on Saturday and Chelsea on Tuesday
Barça have been training at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles with a squad of 24 players: Ter Stegen, Masip, Piqué, Rakitic, Sergio, Pedro, Iniesta, Suárez, Rafinha, Bartra, Douglas, Jordi Alba, S. Roberto, Adriano, Vermaelen, Mathieu, Arda Turan, Aleix Vidal, Sandro, Munir and Halilovic from the first team and and three from the reserves (José Suárez, Samper and Gumbau). The only absentees are the five South Americans that were involved in the Copa America in Chile (Claudio Bravo, Leo Messi, Javier Mascherano, Dani Alves and Neymar), who are still on vacation.
Neither Arda Turan nor Aleix Vidal will be able to play due to the FIFA suspension and with lenient rules regarding substitutions in this tournament, there should be run-outs for most of the squad in this fixture.
Irishman Robbie Keane and star summer signing Steven Gerrard are likely to feature for Galaxy, but the other big-name arrival and former Barça player, Giovani Dos Santos, is currently away playing for Mexico at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
"These matches will help get us ready for the start of the official season," said coach Luis Enrique shortly after arriving in the US. "My goal is to keep everyone motivated and to win the three titles," he said in reference to the two Super Cups and the Club World Cup coming up later in the year, which offer Barça the chance of repeating their historic haul of six trophies in 2009.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said that “even without Messi and Neymar, [Barça] have a large contingent of outstanding players and it’ll certainly be a good challenge for us. These games are for the fans and a lot of people are coming to support both teams and we want it to be a good game.”
FC Barcelona haven’t played since beating Juventus in the Champions League Final in June to complete a famous treble.
Galaxy, meanwhile, have already started their participation in the tournament with a 2-1 win against Club America and are also deep into their MLS campaign. They are currently second in the Western Conference, one point behind leaders Dallas FC. They go into this game on little rest after beating San Jose Earthquakes 5-2 on Friday with a hat-trick from Keane and one goal each for Gerrard and Sebastian Lletget.
This is Barça’s first ever appearance in the International Champions Cup, although they are no strangers to the USA. This is their sixth visit in twelve years, and in 2009 they beat the Galaxy 2-1 at the same venue as today’s encounter. David Beckham found the net for the US team and Pedro and Jeffren scored for the visitors.
Los Angeles Galaxy featured in the inaugural edition of the ICC, losing the third-place playoff 2-0 to AC Milan.
No matter where you are in the world we have you covered. Twitter users can follow @FCBarcelona for a live feed of all the action.
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