Florida is used to its fair share of heavy weather, but it’s been a while since they were battered by a storm like this. Barcelona crushed their U.S opponents on their own soil in a devastating display of attacking prowess that bodes very well for the future and must have Inter Miami coach Phil Neville’s head still spinning. New striker Robert Lewandowski was the main attraction before kick-off, his signing being made official just a short while before. No doubt he enjoyed what he saw, as his new teammates chewed up their opponents in a way that was startling even for a friendly against a lesser team. Had the Barca Globetrotters come to town? It certainly felt like it as another new signing, Raphinha, pulled out all of his best tricks and party pieces to dazzle not just the fans in the stands, but seemingly the MLS players sharing the field with him as well. The Brazilian claimed an assist for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after a sumptuous one two with Pedri to get the ball rolling, before hitting a beautiful volley of his own to open his Barca account. Next, he turned in another assist for Ansu Fati to make it 3-0 before the half. And there was even more to come.
As the party resumed in the second half, a whole new Barcelona took the field, with wholesale changes to the line-up ensuring everyone got a run out. Gavi soon made it 4-0, but the best was reserved for the end. Memphis Depay scored a gorgeous goal, rolling his foot over the ball behind him in the penalty box, before turning to lose his marker and lash in Barca’s fifth. It was a goal that may yet prove he still has something to offer the team next season and just may be worth keeping around. I certainly hope so, because I love to watch him play when he is at his best and very much hope he can stay and help contribute to what is sure to be an exciting season for the team. Finally, Ousmane Dembele ran at the Miami defense like an oncoming tornado, pulling pink shirts this way and that as he moved, before creating enough space to unleash his shot past a goalkeeper that only had a dazed shake of the head to offer in reply.
Stunning, devastating, cool.
Next up is Las Vegas, party capital of the world and the small matter of a game against Real Madrid. Oh, and Robert Lewandowski may just be making his debut. Should be all kinds of good times, huh?
Get your fireworks ready, then.
The circus is coming to town.