MLS: Pro-40 falls to Benfica reserves

The U.S. Pro-40 team kicked off its five-game tour of Portugal with a 3-0 loss to Benfica's second team Dec. 1. Playing in front of a crowd of 1,500 at Benfica's Stadium of Light reserve venue, U.S. Pro-40 faced a team that started several members of Benfica's first squad, according to MLS. Three of U.S. Pro-40's four shots were stopped by the Benfica goalkeeper. Chicago Fire forward Dema Kovalenko had the best scoring chance of the game for the American team. In the 60th minute Kovalenko fired a rocket from the top of the 18-yard box that hit the left post, ricocheted, and hit the right post. The ball was then cleared by a defender inside the goal area. Benfica secured the win with a 30th-minute own goal by U.S. Pro-40 defender Ubusuku Abukusumo (recently waived by the Columbus Crew). Abukusumo tried to deflect a shot by an on-rushing Benfica midfielder, chipping the ball over goalkeeper Scott Vallow's (recently waived by the Dallas Burn) right shoulder. Benfica opened the scoring in the second half by converting a penalty kick in the 50th minute. Pro-40 defender Brian Dunseth (New England Revolution) was called on a hand ball inside the penalty area, allowing one of Benfica's forwards to hit a ball just left of Vallow. Benfica took advantage of U.S. Pro-40's pushed-up defense in the 70th minute when a speedy opposing midfielder dribbled down the middle, drawing Vallow off his line and dished a shot around defender Tim Sahaydak (Miami Fusion), who went to cut the angle of the Benfica player. The physical match produced a total of 62 fouls. Playing the match as a scrimmage, officials did not give out cautions or ejections. U.S. Pro-40 continues double training sessions tomorrow, Dec. 3, in preparation for game 2 of the international tour. Pro-40 will face Belenenses Dec. 7 at 11 a.m. ET at the club's training grounds.
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