International Champions Cup '19
ROAD TRIP TO THE INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONS CUP
As you may know, Just Kick It primarily operates in the New Jersey/New York area, so in order to attend this game, we have to take a 4-hour drive down to Landover, Maryland. Was it planned? No. Was it worth it? Absolutely!
It was a last minute decision that led to one of the best games we've seen in all the years we have attend the ICC tournament. Over the years when this tournament commenced, we encouraged soccer enthusiasts to partake in the full fan experience. For us this included a 4-hour drive to the stadium, an hour meet and greet with fans, an unbelievable 2-hour on-field experience, and 4-hour ride back home. Till today, we are still on edge from the adventure and thrill of this clash that saw - Real Madrid vs Arsenal FC. A game which had all the ingredients of a true Champions Cup match would have - filled with twists and turns, bad calls, and penalty kicks which had us all gasping in suspense. Put all these together and you have the right formula to create the ultimate the soccer experience.
LANDOVER, MD USA
If you follow La Liga or Champions League, it's hard to ignore the gaping hole Cristiano Ronaldo left in Real Madrid when he moved over to Juventus. It is clear that Real Madrid has not found a player to make-up for the goal deficit left by CR7. We were very eager to see their hottest and most rumored signing though - Eden Hazard. While he only played most of the first half, it's still hard to tell what his impact will be on the team if any from this game. That aside, Real Madrid won this game by luck, in our opinion. There was a bad call made by the referee and this game ended up going to penalties - the Russian Roulette of soccer. The problems Real Madrid saw in 2018/2019 season persists through pre-season and only time will tell once the 2019/2020 La Liga season starts.
Arsenal FC - a big 6 team in Premier League who is often the butt of many jokes, whether it's celebrating too early in the season or getting knocked out by Bayern Munich once too many in the Champions League, were a refreshing sight! Whether it's seeing Lacazette and Aubameyang score some screamers or the beautiful fluidity of passes on the field, it felt like the rebirth Arsenal has been seeking in the post Wenger era. If it weren't for some bad calls and having a team of 10 men instead of 11, this game could have easily been won by Arsenal in regular time. It shows that Real Madrid was really no match and had to go to penalties to win it. With so much promise and rumors of huge signings such as Nicholas Pepe, Arsenal will be a lethal contender in Europa League and for the top 4 in Premier League.
Living in the US but haven't been to an International Champions Cup (ICC) match?
If you live in the US and love international soccer, ICC provides US residents the opportunity to see teams like Arsenal, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, etc. While the 2019 tournament is over for men and women, make sure you get your tickets early next year. We have been going to these games since the inauguration of this cup and they have only gotten better with time! More teams, greater match ups, and an unforgettable experience.
IN THE END
With great promise from Arsenal, it wouldn't be a far cry to say that Arsenal can dominate Europa League and end up in the top 4 to secure a spot in Champions League next year; something that is deserving of such a talented team. Meanwhile, Real Madrid still have a lot to prove and El Debri as well as El Clasico will be the test Eden Hazard needs to see if he can withstand the pressure of playing a high profile match with a historically high class team. In the end, we won because we got to see these two great clubs in the USA through ICC and enjoyed every minute of it!