It was a respectable result for Toronto FC against Benfica of Portugal at BMO last night. Although the score may not show it, the game offered some excellent soccer. Benfica who played with a makeshift lineup had some excellent sequences, yet rarely tested the Toronto net. Toronto's defence led by Jim Brennan and Marco Reda in the first half was able to keep Benfica at at bay. Reda appeared to tweak something and was limping late in the first half. Aside from a partial break away early in the second half, where Greg Sutton had to make a big save on a rather weak effort, Toronto were rarely in true danger - I felt. Sutton was substituted
for backup Srjden Djankovic soon after, who held his own.
Surprisingly, it was Toronto who created several great chances and were unlucky not to finish on several legitimate opportunities late in the game as the play opened up.
Toronto inserted regular starter Andy Welsh and Danny Dichio in the second half. TFC also inserted youngsters Joey Melo, David Guzman, and Christian Nunez at different stages of the the second half to give them playing time against quality opposition. Andrea Lombardo started up top for Toronto with Edson Buddle and was a pesky presence I felt.
I would estimate the crowd at around 15,000-16,000, though it looked larger as the game went on. It was clear many Toronto FC fans had sold their tickets to Benfica supporters (most likely for a big premium) as the Benfica jerseys and fans were everywhere. Toronto FC fans were very vocal nonetheless. Benfica next plays in New Jersey on the weekend against AEK Athens while Toronto will play Columbus on Saturday night. I was told Benfica would recieve close to $1 million dollars for its North American tour.