BOSTON, Mass. – New AS Roma signing Michael Bradley scored his first ever goal for his new team as the Italian club grabbed a 2-1 victory over Liverpool FC at Fenway Park in a preseason friendly on Wednesday night in front of a sold-out crowd of 37,169.
The match marked the second time in three years an international soccer exhibition was played at historic Boston baseball stadium Fenway Park with Scotland’s Glasgow Celtic defeating Portugal’s Sporting CP on PKs after a 1-1 draw in 2010.
“It was incredible [playing at Fenway],” said Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. “I’d like to go on record to give a big thank you to the people of Boston… It’s been absolutely magnificent the hospitality that we’ve seen here and then to climax it with really playing at an incredible stadium. I said to the players before the game, ‘when you’re 50 you’ll be able to tell your grandkids and whatnot you played actual football at Fenway Park’ and that’s something that will stay with us.”
With AS Roma further along in preseason and playing a starting eleven that featured the likes of Italians Francesco Totti and Pablo Daniel Osvaldo, Argentinean Nicolas Burdisso and American international midfielder Bradley, the Italian side started the match stronger than a Liverpool eleven filled with many reserves.
Despite Roma’s advantage in quality, Liverpool held them at bay with goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi saving shots from Pablo Osvaldo, Nico Lopez and Panagiotis Tachtsidis. The Reds looked dangerous in the counterattack through Joe Cole and Jonjo Shelvey, but despite both teams showing some preseason sloppiness, the match entered halftime scoreless.
Bradley, who signed for Roma on July 16, finally opened the scoring in the 63rd minute. The American got the ball from halftime substitute Erik Lamela and dribbled into the box before slotting a shot past Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones – another halftime substitute – that landed just inside the far post to put Roma up 1-0.
“I think [Bradley] played a good game,” said Roma manager Zdenek Zeman through a team translator. “He’s a player who works hard. He did well and he kept his tempo very high.”
Six minutes later Roma doubled the lead when Lamela broke into the box and got in alone with Jones. With Jones quick off his line, Lamela sent a square pass to Alessandro Florenzi, who blasted it into the empty net to make it 2-0.
“Scoring always gives you great excitement,” said Florenzi through a team translator. “It’s always very nice, but doing it tonight in front of this crowd that I would like to thank on behalf of all the team is certainly very special to me.”
Liverpool pulled one back in the 80th minute through Charlie Adams. The Scottish international got the ball from Daniel Pacheco and blasted a shot from outside the box past Bogdan Lobont to put the Reds back in the match.
Lamela, who created Roma’s first two goals, nearly scored one himself in the 86th minute. The 20-year-old Argentinean got behind the defense in the right side of the box and sent a low shot towards the far post, but his effort hit off the post and bounced out.
Liverpool continues their U.S. preseason tour with a match against Tottenham at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Saturday, July 28th. Roma plays the El Salvador National Team on Friday, July 27 at Red Bull Arena.