For the second time in three years, Fenway Park played host to a soccer match between two foreign clubs on their preseason tours. This year, it was Liverpool FC and AS Roma contesting the Football at Fenway competition, and Roma emerged the victors by a score of 2-1.
Roma jumped ahead on second-half goals from Michael Bradley and Alessandro Florenzi, while Liverpool was forced to settle for a consolation goal from Charlie Adam before succumbing to defeat. Bradley, a US international, went the full 90 minutes in the win.
"I think he played a good game," said Roma manager Zdenek Zeman of Bradley, through a translator. "He is a player who works hard, he did well, and he kept his tempo very high."
The first half featured spells of dominance for Liverpool with a great number of chances created. JonJo Shelvey, Joe Cole, Raheem Sterling, and Nathan Eccleston all had decent chances to put the Reds ahead, but were unable to capitalize.
Roma, meanwhile, appeared content to play a slightly more defensive game, sitting back and waiting for their opportunities. That did not stop the Italians from nearly striking first through the efforts of Nicolas Lopez and Panagiotis Tachtsidis.
The second half was a different story, though, as the match opened up and the goals flew in. Bradley opened Roma's account in the 63rd, followed by young midfielder Florenzi's effort in the 69th. Adam saved Liverpool's blushes in the 80th with an excellent effort.
"I think that as far as the performance is concerned, we played better in the first half," said Zeman. "We were more disciplined on the pitch. But of course it's important to score goals in order to win games.
Bradley appeared to be settling in well with his new teammates. In addition to the goal, he nearly had an assist in the 57th minute when his perfectly-weighted through ball beat Daniel Pacheco and found Aleandro Rosi streaking into the area. Unfortunately, the defender skied his shot when he really should have done better.
Otherwise, it was a typical all-action performance from Bradley as he helped set the tempo for his side.
"Seeing [Bradley] on the pitch and in training I can certainly say that he is a great person," said Florenzi of Bradley, also through a translator. "On the pitch he is a fighter. He gives his best effort, and I also think that he is very skilled."
Both teams will leave the Hub in the coming days to continue their US tours as they prepare for the new European season. The experience of playing in the Cathedral of Boston, though, is something that has obviously affected the players on both sides.
"I said to the players before the game, you know, when you're fifty-odd, you'll be able to tell your grandkids and whatnot that you played actual football at Fenway Park," said Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers after the match. "And that's something that'll stay with them."