Why Did FC Barcelona Play Against Club America in Dallas Mid-Season? Uncovering Catalan Side’s Unexpected Trip to USA

Published 12/20/2023, 12:47 PM EST

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FC Barcelona is set to embark on an unexpected journey to the United States, specifically to Dallas, Texas for a rare mid-season friendly. On 21 December, the Catalan side will be facing off against Mexican team Club America in a match that has raised many eyebrows. This is because Barca had a La Liga match against Almeria just a few hours before the match against the Mexican side. With the Catalan side in a tricky predicament on the domestic front, this friendly raises even more questions.

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One might wonder why Xavi and his men would agree to participate in a match that requires them to cover a staggering distance of 5175 miles (8329 km) in such a short time and that too during their regular season. So, what’s the story behind this unusual decision?

FC Barcelona’s trip to Dallas is for a noble cause

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The match between FC Barcelona and Club America was announced last month, and it is being organized by Soccer Media Solutions. Barcelona made the announcement official on November 18 on their website. However, the match is not just a regular friendly; it has a much deeper and noble purpose. The event is being organized with the primary goal of raising funds for the victims of Hurricane Otis.

This is the same Category 5 hurricane that wreaked havoc in Acapulco, Mexico, in October of this year. The hurricane took a heavy toll on the region. It resulted in the loss of at least 50 lives and caused billions of dollars in damage. And it is to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Otis that FC Barcelona and Club America decided to face each other. The proceeds from the match will go to help those left debilitated by the Hurricane Otis.

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Also, by playing this match in the Cotton Bowl Stadium, which has a capacity of nearly 92,000 spectators, the aim is to maximize the potential for raising money. Barca themselves could bag nearly $5 million from this game, which could be a big boost for them given their financial woes. This will be Barcelona’s second visit to the Cotton Bowl having played Italian Serie A club Juventus last summer at the stadium.

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This will also be only the second time Blaugrana will play a friendly during the December window. Previously, the club played Argentine giants Boca Juniors on December 14, 2021, for a posthumous tribute to soccer legend Diego Maradona. Club America and Barcelona met in the 2006 FIFA Club World Cup with the Catalan side claiming a 4-0 victory. They also faced off in the 2011 International Champions Cup with Barcelona winning 2-0.

Despite the commendable cause, Barcelona’s decision to participate in this match is not without its challenges.

Barca, who have been in stuttering league form this season, beat Almeria 3-2 in a tightly fought contest courtesy of a Sergi Roberto winner in their last La Liga match of 2023 on Wednesday. On the other hand, Club America saw off Tigres UANL 3-0 in extra time in the second leg of the Liga MX Apertura final to clinch a record 14th league title on December 18.

Apart from the challenge Club America will pose, Barcelona has already been hit hard with numerous injuries and this back-to-back encounter could cause further harm with a key player already missing.

The Catalan giants are risking injuries with defensive mainstay set to miss out

FC Barcelona has already been dealing with several injuries. This includes Marc Andre ter Stegen and Marcos Alonso who are both sidelined with back injuries. Additionally, their midfield stars Gavi and Pedri are facing cruciate ligament tear and muscular problems respectively. Inigo Martinez is also out due to a hamstring injury. In a more recent update, club captain Ronald Araujo will also miss the trip to the US. The Uruguayan international has been playing with a fractured jaw in the past few weeks and the club don’t want to risk him further.

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Soccer Football – LaLiga – Rayo Vallecano v FC Barcelona. Campo de Futbol de Vallecas, Madrid, Spain – November 25, 2023. FC Barcelona coach Xavi before the match. REUTERS/Isabel InfantesThe 24-year-old will have fresh tests and visits to the doctor in the coming days to assess his situation better. Araujo suffered the cheekbone fracture during the match against Atletico Madrid in La Liga and has been playing with a protective mask since.

Despite this, Xavi has confirmed that the entire team will be traveling to the USA, apart from the injured players. There’s no denying that playing two matches within 24 hours increases the risk of injury for other players as well. However, there is some relief in knowing that after the match, players will leave for their Christmas break before their next game on January 4th.

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Written by:

Saransh Chauhan

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My name is Saransh Chauhan and I am an experienced soccer writer at EssentiallySports. With over a year of experience at EssentiallySports, I have covered various aspects of the magnificent sport. While I strive to provide comprehensive coverage of core sports topics, I also explore off-court and entertainment subjects.
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Edited by:

Sreeda U M

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