On Wednesday morning, the AU men's soccer team took the pitch for an international match against a second division U19 team in Barcelona in 90-degree weather on the turf surface.
The 10:30 a.m. kickoff was at the 15,000-seat Olympic Stadium on the west side of town.The Ravens lost a 5-1 decision against UD Bellvitge from the Spanish National League in the second division.
"They were impressive," AU coach Scott Fridley said. "I have enjoyed over the years playing different styles of teams. This team was one of the best we have seen. They were a quality side and kept pressure on us for 90 minutes."
The Ravens were under duress immediately in the first half. Bellvitge got off a couple early shots that were saved by goal keeper Caleb Oliver. The Ravens settled down and started to share the possession with a couple shots of their own.
The scoring began when Bellvitge got a ball past Oliver in the 35th minute.
The Ravens got a foul called for them in the 43rd minute about 30 yards out. AU senior captain Danny Collins took the direct free kick and served a bending ball into the box where it was heded by senior Race Williams to tie up the game.
Bellvitge put pressure in the final third and regained the lead with just 45 seconds remaining in the half.
The Ravens ran out of gas in the face of all that pressure and gave up three goals in the final 25 minutes to bow out.
"I was very proud of the boys, not only the situation was special and the team we played was amazing, just playing in Spain was enough," Fridley said. "They fought hard in the heat and competed in a tight game in Spain."
Rj Macomber led AU with two steals, and Drew Sonnefeldt led the team with three intercepts. Oliver finished with 11 saves.
After lunch at the stadium club, the team headed to the Basilica De La Sagrada Familia to see the incredible church.
The Ravens leave for Madrid on Friday morning to complete their three-city (Rome, Barcelona and Madrid) European tour.