Before beginning the weekend fixtures of the 2015 International Champions Cup, Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT will be the site for a battle between the Portuguese Primeira Liga titleholders Benfica SC and Serie A club Fiorentina. Both teams will take the field in search of their first ICC win, as each fell to French Ligue 1 Champions Paris Saint-Germain in their opening matches.
This is only one of the several quality matches on tap for the next several days, as International Champions Cup tickets have been highly sought after, according to TiqIQ. Fans wanting to take in this game live or any of the upcoming ones still can with cheap flights from Hipmunk.com that will have spectators nearby Rentschler Field in East Hartford. Furthermore, Hipmunk has plenty of affordable hotel listings in the area for those wanting to make it an extended soccer vacation getaway.
Benfica is no stranger to domestic league success, as the Portuguese powerhouse has won the Primeira Liga 34 times. This past season, they not only repeated as back-to-back champions but also made it to the Europa League Final, where they lost to Sevilla on penalty kicks.
Nicknamed the Águias, they will take aim at recovering from a 3-2 loss to PSG after leading the match, 2-1, at halftime. Goals from their Brazilian duo of Talisca and Jonas were not enough to hold off the hungry French club, who stormed back by scoring twice in the second half.
Headlining the roster is a pair of forwards who provided goals aplenty for the Lisbon-based club. Jonas proved to be a top signing last season, scoring a world-class 31 goals in 35 total appearances. Partnering with him on the attack is fellow Brazilian Lima, and since his move to the Águias in 2012, the striker has made 89 Primeira Liga appearances, en route to recording 53 goals. Other high-profile players on their ICC roster include Brazilian goalkeeper Júlio César and midfielder Nicolás Gaitán,
Benfica will then face the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ on July 26, followed by Club América on July 28 in Mexico City, Mexico.
Fiorentina has not hoisted the Serie A trophy since the 1968-69 season, which marked the club’s second time being crowned Italian Champions. Entering his second year as coach, Paulo Sousa helped lead his side to a fourth-place finish last season in addition to guiding them to the Europa League Round of 16.
Nicknamed la Viola for their purple kits, the Italian club now takes aim at bouncing back from falling to PSG in their tournament opener in. Spanish Midfielder Joaquín scored with a nice strike in the 60th minute, and Giuseppe Rossi added a 79th-minute penalty kick, but it was all for naught, as they ultimately came up short, 4-2.
The Serie A club’s roster contains multiple top talents including a few household names. Forward Mario Gómez made his highly anticipated moved to la Viola from German club Bayern Munich in 2013 but his debut season was cut short due to injury. Another victim to injury in 2013 was Rossi. However, the forward put together a solid 2014-15, leading the team in scoring with 16 goals in 21 appearances. Other exciting players include midfielders Josip Iličić and Borja Valero.
Fiorentina will next face FC Barcelona on August 2 in Florence, Italy, before going up against Chelsea FC on August 5 in London, England.