Residency fall to Benfica in Dallas Cup

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency fell 1-0 to Portuguese giants Benfica in their opening U-19 Super Group game at Dallas Cup XXIX.Despite creating some excellent chances in the first half and having a goal from a set-piece disallowed in the dying stages, a fine second-half strike from Benfica earned them an opening victory in Bracket C at Dallas' Richland College.A bright and windy day in Texas greeted both teams for the Sunday afternoon contest, with Thomas Niendorf's side very unlucky not to have taken the lead inside the opening couple of minutes, as an unmarked Randy Edwini-Bonsu was unable to hit the target from 10 yards out.Though Benfica had plenty of possession in the opening 45 minutes, it was the Whitecaps that looked far more dangerous on the counter-attack, with several more chances created by Vancouver before halftime. Their European opponents, however, held firm to take a goalless draw to the break.The decisive moment of the match came on 62 minutes, as a Benfica player made a run from the halfway line before hitting a sublime 35-yard strike past Residency goalkeeper Simon Thomas for 1-0. The scoreline allowed the Portuguese youngsters to use a few 'professional tactics' against the Whitecaps, as the seemed satisfied enough with the one-goal result.The Whitecaps, however, remained undeterred and pressed to find an equalizer late on. Second-half substitute Drew Russell struck a header off the target with ten minutes remaining before Navid Mashinchi also failed to test the Benfica goalkeeper with a free-kick effort.Vancouver then thought they had finally broken through in the last minute of the game. From a free kick, the Benfica keeper spilled the set-piece in the box before the Whitecaps were able to knock it over the goal-line. In the melee, the keeper had fallen over Whitecaps substitute Kyle Porter, and the referee deemed the collision to be a foul on the Benfica shot-stopper – thus disallowing the Whitecaps goal.Despite the disappointment of losing Sunday's contest, Niendorf felt much will be learned by his team. "I thought we played a good game," he told from Dallas. "The windy conditions made it a challenge for both teams. Benfica were a well-organized and physical team, but we were unfortunate not to take our opportunities when we had them. Playing teams with the qualities of Benfica is important for our players. That is why we are here."The German tactician also felt a draw would have been a fair result after viewing a replay of the late disallowed goal. "I've just looked at it again on video, and the goal looked good to us," he said.In the other Bracket C match at Richland College, Germany's Eintracht Frankfurt drew 1-1 with Mexico's Chivas Guadalajara. Whitecaps Residency will now prepare for their second game on Monday, as they play Chivas Guadalajara at Richland College. Kickoff is 10am Pacific Daylight Time.For the Whitecaps to reach next Friday's semifinals, they must win Bracket C or claim the wildcard place from the three groups competing this week.Whitecaps FC Residency - line-up v Benfica (Dallas Cup XXIX)Simon Thomas; Antonio Rago, Adam Straith, Anthony DiNicolo, Navid Mashinchi; Ethan Gage (Kyle Porter 14'), Devin Gunenc, Philippe Davies (Drew Russell 62'), Randy Edwini-Bonsu (Alex Semenets 45'); Marcus Johnstone (Dever Orgill 45'), Gagandeep DosanjhSubs not used: Karm Shergill, William Hyde, Greg SmithTo view the latest news and features from the Whitecaps Residency's trip to Dallas Cup XXIX – including tournament blogs from defender Adam Straith - please CLICK HERE for our special Dallas Cup page.