The New York Red Bulls earned a 2-1 victory over S.L. Benfica in an International Champions Cup match Sunday night at Red Bull Arena. Bradley Wright-Phillips and Mike Grella each scored to see New York to the top of the ICC table.
The Red Bulls finish their ICC run with a 3-0-1 record, with ICC counting the Red Bulls' regular season results against other MLS sides in the competition, San Jose and Los Angeles, in addition to the 4-2 win over Chelsea from Wednesday night.
Benfica got on the board early through attacker Pizzi, but Wright-Phillips pulled New York level in the 34th minute after pouncing on a bad back-pass between Benfica's center backs.
The Red Bulls went ahead in the 56th minute with a highlight-reel goal from Grella. The Long Island native took control just outside the box, maneuvered into space and hit a curling shot with the side of his foot that looped over a defender and dipped into the upper 90 on the far side of goal.
While it was the starters who won the day, RBNY head coach Jesse Marsch once again used a liberal amount of reserves and NYRBII players.
"I'm very pleased with the game because with a split squad and different guys in the rotation, it looked like our team," Marsch said afterward. "Guys know their roles. They're committed and they trust each other. So I think we're taking little steps along the way and I think for me, even though it's an exhibition tournament, as a team we took steps and as a club we took steps."
Captain Dax McCarty, who will travel to Colorado mid-week to join the MLS All-Stars for a match against Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday evening, echoed a similar note.
"I think that a lot of our young guys are growing up pretty quickly, I mean the Chelsea game is pretty self-explanatory, we had pretty much all Academy kids and then a few First Team guys sprinkled in and they played unbelievably well," McCarty explained. "And then tonight sprinkle in a few more First Team guys, but also a lot of young guys that are on the First Team that don't get as many minutes and the level doesn't drop off too much."
The Red Bulls return to league play with a match against the Philadelphia Union next Saturday at PPL Park.
BEN - Pizzi (Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez) 7'
NY - Bradley Wright-Phillips 33'
NY - Mike Grella 56'
BEN - Pizzi (caution) 20'
NY - Luis Robles (caution) 45+'
NY - Roy Miller (caution) 85'
New York Red Bulls: Luis Robles (Kyle Reynish, 46'); Connor Lade (Roy Miller, 46'), Karl Ouimette, Damien Perrinelle (Matt Miazga, 46'), Anthony Wallace (Shawn McLaws, 46'), Dax McCarty © (Sean Davis, 46'), Sal Zizzo, Manolo Sanchez (Felipe, 46'), Leo Stolz (Marius Obekop, 46'), Tyler Adams (Mike Grella, 46'), Bradley Wright-Phillips (Anatole Abang, 46')
TOTAL SHOTS: 13; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; FOULS: 12; OFFSIDE: 4; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 7.
SL Benfica: Ederson; Lisandro Lopez, Luisao © (Fernando Marcal, 82'), Andreas Samaris, Ola John (Goncalo Guedes, 46'), Pizzi (Jonas, 66'), Adel Taarabt (Filip Djuricic, 46'), Jonathan Rodriguez (Nicolas Gaitan, 66'), Silvio (Joao Teixeira, 82'), Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez (Talisca, 66'), Nelson Semedo11
TOTAL SHOTS: 25; SHOTS ON GOAL: 11; FOULS: 13; OFFSIDE: 4; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 2.