The New England Revolution defeated Sporting Clube de Portugal 2-1 on Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium in an international exhibition match that saw the visiting team finish the game with eight players after three were ejected with red cards.
In the early minutes of the game, Sporting appealed for a penalty when forward Liedson appeared to have been taken down in the box but referee Erich Simmons ruled the Sporting player had not been fouled.
The rest of the first half saw Sporting own the majority of possession, mixing deliberate build-up play with direct penetrating balls and generating several good chances.
New England had an opportunity to get on the board in the 37th minute when midfielder José Cancela served a ball into the area to Sporting goalkeeper Tiago Ferreira's left. Cancela connected with a leaping Taylor Twellman who got his head on the ball but was unable to put the shot on target.
Sporting opened the scoring when Romanian forward Marius Niculae scored in the 39th minute. After receiving a long ball from defender Paito in the penalty area with his back to goal, Niculae let the ball bounce twice before turning on Revs defender Avery John and blasting a shot to the near post past Revs keeper Matt Reis to put Sporting up 1-0. The teams went into halftime with Sporting leading.
Sporting appeared to take the lead in the 61st minute when Joao Pinto contested a head ball in the box with Revs defender Jay Heaps. Pinto got the ball to Liedson who then powered the ball into the back of the net. Simmons, however, called Pinto for a foul for elbowing Heaps on the header and also issued a red card to Pinto, meaning the Revs would play a man up.
The Revolution would exploit the manpower advantage shortly thereafter. In the 64th minute, rookie midfielder Richie Baker broke down the right flank and served the ball into the penalty area to a waiting Clint Dempsey, who took two touches before shooting the ball past Ferreira to even the score at 1-1.
What was already a physical match then took on an increasingly nasty tone and in the 75th minute, Sporting's Paulo Bento was issued a second yellow card for a tackle from behind. Sporting was thus reduced to nine players.
In the 82nd minute, Simmons awarded the Revs a penalty kick after Andy Dorman was fouled in the box by Paito as the Revs rookie midfielder dribbled down the right side of the penalty area. Steve Ralston stepped up to blast the ensuing spot kick into the back left corner while Ferreira dove to his own left and New England led 2-1.
The game got ugly in the closing minutes when substitute Sporting forward Silva elbowed the Revs' Brian Kamler in the face from a blind angle. A fracas ensued, Silva was red carded, and Simmons whistled an end to the match with the Revolution victorious 2-1.
The Revolution return to action Saturday at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN2 versus the MetroStars at Gillette Stadium.
SCP - Niculae (Macana) 39'.
NER - Dempsey (Baker) 64'; Ralston (penalty kick) 82'.
SCP - Ferreira, Polga, Macana, Barbosa (Matos, 19'), Valenzuela, Bento, Pinto, Nascimento, Niculae (Cruz, 76'), Fernandez, Muniz (Silva, 88').
Substitutes Not Used: Pereira, Vieira.
TOTAL SHOTS: 10; SHOTS ON GOAL: 3; FOULS: 25; OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 1.
NE - Reis (Singer, 68'), Heaps (Vercollone, 68'), Kamler, John, Leonard (Dempsey, 22'), Brillant, Joseph (Dorman, 45'), Cancela, Franchino, Twellman (Baker, 45'), Ralston.
Substitutes Not Used: none.
TOTAL SHOTS: 4; SHOTS ON GOAL: 2; FOULS: 24; OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 2.
SCP - Fernandez (Y) 16'; Tinga (Y) 44'; Niculae (Y) 59'; Bento (Y) 59'; Pinto (R) 62'; Bento (Y/R) 75'; Cruz (Y) 79'; Tello (Y) 81', Silva (R) 90'.
NER - John (Y) 35'; Joseph (Y) 52'; Brillant (Y) 74'
Referee: Erich Simmons
Referee's Assistants: - Richard Eddy, Claudio Badea
4th Official: Niko Bratsis
Weather: Clear, 65 degrees.