Gareth Bale Leads Real Madrid to Win vs. Roma in 2018 ICC

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 8, 2018

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 07:  Gareth Bale #11 of Real Madrid celebrates with Karim Benzema #9, and Marco Asensio #20 after scoring a goal in the 15th minute against Robin Olsen #1 of Roma during the first half of the International Champions Cup match at MetLife Stadium on August 7, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/International Champions Cup/Getty Images)
Elsa/International Champions Cup/Getty Images

Real Madrid closed out its American tour with a 2-1 win over Roma Tuesday in the International Champions Cup.

Gareth Bale tallied a goal and an assist, while Marco Asensio added another score for the Spanish giants at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

After an opening loss to Manchester United, Real Madrid finished the ICC with two straight victories. Roma ended its run with two losses and a win over Barcelona.

           

Gareth Bale Shows He's Ready to Take Over for Real Madrid

Real Madrid struggled with its finishing during the first match and a half of the preseason. The offense has looked much better since then, and a lot of it is thanks to Bale.

Bale helped kick off the scoring Tuesday with a long pass to Asensio, who finished for a goal in the second minute. He then got his own goal in the 15th minute to give his club a 2-0 lead:

The finish was an impressive one to give him two goals in his last two ICC matches. He departed after 56 minutes following a job well done.

While Cristiano Ronaldo leaving for Juventus creates a massive hole in the pitch for Real Madrid, Bale was already one of the best players in the world, and he is ready to play an even bigger role this season.

He showed against Roma that he can create golden opportunities for others as well as finish himself, which could lead to a productive season for the Wales national.

Kiyan Sobhani of Managing Madrid discussed the different looks offensively:

This effort led to 15 shots, including seven on net, per ESPN FC.

If the rest of the elite players around Bale live up to expectations, there shouldn't be much of a drop-off for the Champions League winners.

             

Sergio Ramos' Return Helps Solidify Defense for Real Madrid

A few Real Madrid players are taking a long time to recover from the World Cup, but Sergio Ramos was back on the pitch against Roma. It seemed to make a significant difference to the defense.

After allowing two goals to Manchester United and conceding an own goal against Juventus, Real had shut down its opponent for most of the match. Stars like Edin Dzekowere held in check, while Roma had limited chances in the final third.

Ramos only played the first half, and in that time, the only shot on goal came from Dzekoin the ninth minute.

World-class defenders Marcelo and Raphael Varane are still not in the lineup, but it was the 32-year-old veteran who often makes the biggest difference.

Of course, the defense was far from perfect in the latest win.

Kevin Strootman scored the goal for Roma in the 83rd minute after a misplay from several defenders off a throw-in, including Jose Leon. The team also gave up six corners, which could lead to more goals later in the season.

Still, it's clear this defense won't be easy to score against while Ramos is on the pitch.

          

Roma Needs More from Robin Olsen to Be Successful

Like Real Madrid, Roma lost arguably its best player this offseason with goalkeeper Alisson leaving for Liverpool.

The club added Swedish star Robin Olsen to be the new No. 1, but he hasn't looked up to the task in his first two matches.

After allowing two goals against Barcelona, Olsen allowed two more early ones Tuesday. He lacked confidence in trying to stop Asensio's goal right at the start of the match and was caught at the halfway point.

To make matters worse for the new player, Lorenzo Pellegrini had solid moments in the second half. Real Madrid put several quality shots on net, but he was there with timely saves to give his club a chance at a comeback.

Olsen still has higher upside and should remain in the starting lineup, but Roma needs a higher level of play to continue its success in Italy and Europe.

          

What's Next?

Real Madrid will return to Spain for one more friendly against an Italian foe, taking on AC Milan Saturday. Roma will have some time off to prep for the Serie A season, beginning on Aug. 19 against Torino.

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