Benfica cruised over the New England Revolution 4-0 on a misty night at Gillette Stadium. Filipe Menezes scored unassisted first in the 15th minute and three minutes later Sidnei followed up with the second assisted by Cesar Peixoto. Peixoto delivered the third goal unassisted in the 32nd minute and Alan Kardec tallied the fourth goal unassisted in the 53rd minute. Benfica could have driven the score higher, but seemed content playing a beautiful, clean game with perfectly timed combinations.
The Revolution gave three trialists a run-out and with their decimated squad did their best to play a competitive game. Ivan Gvozdenovic started in the midfield paired with Chris Tierney and Haitian Jean Baptiste Fritzon started up top with Zack Schilawski.
“For me, the time zone was different,” said Gvozdenovic, “and I didn’t know the team. It was a tough game and Benfica is a very good team. It was a big experience, they played together a long time ago and they know how to play football. They scored the goals and we tried to do our best.”
Straight from college graduation, English draft pick trialist Jason Griffith got his first professional start in the second half versus Benfica. Griffith also got his first professional yellow card in the 46nd minute – his first professional minute, but this game was an exceptional event for the young midfielder, who is only the second Brit to ever be selected in the history of the MLS draft. Late in the match, Griffiths showed skill by racing across the face of the net to clear the ball off the side as Benfica almost pushed the score to 5-0.
Photo: Chris Aduama/aduama.com
“It felt good!” said Griffith. “It was tough playing against Benfica, but it felt good to be out there. I think I did all right, and I look forward to coming out and train with the team.”
“Mike Burns actually called me last week and asked me to come up a bit early,” said Griffith, explaining his reaction to being called in against Benfica. “I was meant to come up next week, so he asked me to come up early and play in this game … I was surprised and happy.”
Schilawski had the best opportunity for the Revolution in the 28th minute. He broke free down the side, took one too many touches, but recovered to trick out a defender and fire a dangerous shot that fooled keeper Julio Cesar but flew just over the bar.
Nico Colaluca put in a strong perfomance for the Revolution coming in as a substitute at the half. Quick-footed and crafty at creating space, Colaluca was effective in cutting through Benfica defense, but the forwards had some difficulty combining.
“I really think we knocked the ball around in some spells,” said Colaluca. “At the beginning of the season we weren’t always connecting, guys looked a little out of tune. Tonight there were some spells where we actually got forward, knocked the ball around a little bit. Defensively, our shape, for the most part, I thought it was pretty good. In the middle of the park, at least the half that I played, we broke up a lot of their plays.”
Captains Ruben Amorin and Corey Gibbs shake hands
Photo: Chris Aduama/aduama.com
“We have some guys shuffling in and out of the line-up, we have some injuries, so it’s really just about the guys getting to know each other on the field,” said Colaluca. “I think that’s one of the biggest things. You have some guys that are playing out of position, guys shuffling around the field, in and out of the line-up, and sometimes it can be tough to read what they want to do. I like the ball at my feet, I like to go at guys, as much as I can I like to do it. I feel like I could have finished a couple of plays a little bit better, but it was alright.”
“We want to go out and win every game, but we weren’t too concerned about the score at the end of the day,” said Colaluca.”Stevie [Nicol] had some things that he wanted to accomplish in this game and hopefully he feels that he accomplished it.“
BEN – Filipe Menezes (unassisted) 15
BEN – Sidnei (Cesar Peixoto) 18
BEN – Cesar Peixoto (unassisted) 32
BEN – Alan Kardec (unassisted) 53
New England Revolution: Preston Burpo (GK) (Bobby Shuttleworth 46), Kevin Alston (Zak Boggs 46), Cory Gibbs © (Joseph Niouky 46) Seth Sinovic (Kenny Mansally 46), Pat Phelan (Jason Griffiths 46), Khano Smith, Ivan Gvozdenovic, Chris Tierney, Sainey Nyassi (Nico Colaluca 46), Zack Schilawski (Marko Perovi? 71), Jean-Baptiste Fritzon (Kheli Dube 71)
Substitutes Not Used: Tim Murray
STATS: Shots: 5; Shots on Goal: 1; Saves: 6; Corner Kicks: 4; Offside: 5; Fouls Committed: 9
SL Benfica: Julio Cesar (GK), Sidnei, Cesar Peixoto (David Simao 86), Fabio Faria, Luis Filipe, Filipe Menezes, Ruben Amorin © (Leandro Pimenta 86), Airton (Javi Garcia 58), Alan Kardec, Eder Luis (David Luiz 58), Javier Saviola( Welton 46)
Substitutes Not Used: Jose Moreira, Nuno Gomes, Miguel Vitor
STATS: Shots: 17; Shots on Goal: 11; Saves: 1; Corner Kicks: 4; Offside: 6; Fouls Committed: 2
NE – Jean-Baptiste Fritzon (caution) 31
NE – Jason Griffiths (caution) 46
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee’s Assistants: James Conlee, Claudio Badea
Fourth Official: Jan Halaska
Weather: Showers and 53 degrees
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