The win at Cowboys Stadium was the first for Barcelona in three tries in the World Football Challenge, an exhibition tournament featuring top club teams from European leagues, Major League Soccer and Mexico’s first division.
Barcelona lost 2-1 last week to Manchester United and 4-1 Wednesday to Chivas of Guadalajara.
“We played similar (against Chivas), but because we lost, we were terrible,” Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said. “Now, because we won, we were awesome. Today we played with much confidence, much better.”
The club’s first official match of the season is next Sunday against Real Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Supercopa.
Barcelona was without several top players, including forward Lionel Messi, who was on vacation following the recent Copa America tournament. The absence of those stars was felt in the team’s first two matches, including the shocking loss to Chivas in Miami.
“The guys suffered a lot in the humidity,” Guardiola said, referring to the loss in Miami. “With the air conditioning here, it was much, much better.”
Villa scored in the 24th minute. Adriano Correia sped past America defender Oscar Rojas and his short cross found Villa unmarked just outside the 6-yard box for an easy header.
It was a long night for Rojas, who repeatedly left Villa free for scoring chances. Rojas eventually was replaced at left back by Edgar Castillo, a New Mexico native who will dress for the U.S. national team Wednesday in a friendly against Mexico.
Seydou Keita added a goal in the 90th minute, finishing off an individual effort from Gerard Deulofeu, a reserve forward. Deulofeu maintained possession along the end line, forcing the ball past a defender and the goalkeeper for a short ‘centering’ pass to Keita, who was just a few feet in front of the goal.
America was shut out in all three of its games. Christian Benitez had two dangerous chances in the final minutes, including a left footer in the 86th minute that went just wide. Castillo also made a late run into Barcelona’s box, but his crossing attempt was smothered by a defender.
The game opened up after Villa’s first-half goal, with both teams trading scoring opportunities over the next few minutes. Consecutive one-touch passes from Vicente Sanchez to Benitez to Juan Carlos Medina forced Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes into a diving save.
Minutes later, Andres Iniesta slipped a pass through to Villa, who found himself one-on-one with Club America keeper Armando Navarrete. The keeper came off his line and smothered the play before Villa could get off a shot.
Barcelona, however, dominated first-half play, outshooting America 10-1. “It was a good first half,” Guardiola said.
The one-goal advantage allowed Guardiola to sit Xavi Hernandez for the entire second half. Iniesta and Villa eventually ended up on the side-lines as well.