The game was ugly at times and the score was lopsided. That much was expected when a full strength FC Barcelona side preparing for a Champions League qualifier stepped on the field at Giants Stadium Wednesday night for an international friendly against the New York Red Bulls.
But how will a 6-2 shellacking affect the Red Bulls' mentality with a pivotal league game on tap on Sunday against D.C. United?
"I know for a fact that D.C. United is not going to cause the same problems they caused us," midfielder Dave van den Bergh said, leaving the stadium with a Bojan Krkic jersey tucked under his arm. "We managed to score two goals against a great team. If we do that Sunday, I'm pretty sure we'll get a good result."
Barcelona put on a clinic from the opening kickoff, jumping in front 3-0 on goals by Xavi Hernandez, Samuel Eto'o and Rafael Marquez inside of a half hour and took a 4-1 lead into the locker room on a second Eto'o goal.
"The best thing you take from this game is that this team is one of the best in the world," defender Kevin Goldthwaite said. "You see how they think on and off the ball. Playing against them is something you can't experience by watching on TV."
The onslaught was massive, impressive and decisive. It was painfully clear that Barcelona was on a different level.
"Today, it was frustrating for every one of us," forward Juan Pablo Angel said. "But we got to play against the best players in Europe. There are very different ways to analyze the game...The difference is that they are top players and we are trying to just to grow here and make the league better. That's the difference between MLS and Barcelona."
As ugly as it got, Red Bulls players don't regret playing the match.
"It was a great experience," defender Jeff Parke said. "It's a shame they put a whooping on us, but we played against some great players. It was an honor to be out there against them."
Added midfielder Seth Stammler, who scored a first-half goal: "As a team, it's good to measure yourself against the best in the world. You can't get down on yourself for losing like that, but you have to take positives from it."
Red Bulls head coach Juan Carlos Osorio hoped a good result would kick start his team, which has 12 games left in the regular season and is currently last in the Eastern Conference with 22 points.
That answer comes Sunday at 5 p.m. ET against D.C. United.
"I said a couple days ago that I thought it was a great opportunity because we want our players to grow, like Danleigh (Borman) and Luke Sassano," Osorio said. "We want them playing games like this and realize how hard it is to play football against the senior players...The result is very difficult to digest, but I want to look at the bigger picture and think that the players will benefit from games like we played today."
Osorio started Danleigh Borman up front with Juan Pablo Angel for the first time, but that combination lasted just 45 minutes as Gabriel Cichero made his Red Bulls debut at the start of the second half.
"As you can see, they play unbelievable soccer," Borman said. "My goal is to be at that level one day and it was a big learning curve. But I really enjoyed the game. It was a nice experience with a big crowd."
Osorio said he was able to take some positives out of the match, including the play of Angel and Juan Pietravallo.
"Their strength is how they interchange positions all over the field, so it was a difficult job for (Pietravallo) to do and he still managed to do that so I think he'll be good for us. In general, I think all the players will benefit from the experience."
Dylan Butler is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.