After looking surprisingly sharp against Chivas last week and then losing to Arsenal while sporadically impressing, Fiorentina will wrap up the International Champions Cup trip with a clash against reigning Portuguese champions Benfica. Strangely enough, these two played each other in 2015 in this tournament, with the Tuscans coming away as penalty-shootout victors in a surprisingly ill-tempered clash.
The match will be played on Wednesday, 24 July 2019, at 12:00 AM GMT/8:00 PM EST in the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. While some rain this morning may have cooled things down a bit, the forecast still predicts a day of wet-wool-blanket level humidity, which will probably impact the players quite a bit and necessitate water breaks. If you’re going to be there, be sure to hydrate.
As a programming note, we won’t be posting a lineup thread because we’re going to be in live attendance for this one. If you will be too, hit us up. Here’s our travel plan.
The main question for Viola fans at this point is whether or not Federico Chiesa will suit up. Given his appearance in promotional materials today (albeit with a facial expression more reminiscent of a hostage situation than anything else), it looks like he’ll get at least a half to stretch his legs, especially after Rocco Commisso has spent the past few days in his ear, cajoling him to drop his plans for a Juventus move.
Other than that, expect to see the usual suspects. Germán Pezzella remains on vacation and Cristiano Biraghi might be held out to ensure his knee injury has plenty of time to recover, but Nikola Milenković should be back in the heart of the defense ahead of Luca Ranieri. Expect similar formations, tactical approaches, and substitute patterns as we’ve seen over the previous two fixtures, as Vincenzo Montella is unlikely to change up too much at this stage.
The Águias have only played one fixture in the ICC so far, beating the heck out of Chivas to the tune of 3-0, a scoreline that flatters the Mexican side a bit. This is, after all, one of the better sides in Europe, blessed with an academy that churns out talent as well as any on the continent. As ever, they boast a plethora a tricky, pacey attackers, particularly out wide, and sport real quality at the fullback positions, particularly leftback Alex Grimaldo.
Keep an eye out for Haris Seferović, the Swiss striker who led the league in goals last season and, of course, once played for the Viola. Raúl de Tomás, Pizzi, Gedson Fernandes, Jota, and Andrija Živković round out a thrilling young attacking unit. They’ll be buoyed by what will probably be a very pro-Benfica crowd, given that Newark is well-known for a very large Portuguese-American population. On the other hand, maybe we’ll get a bunch of Sporting fans out to support the Viola (with whom they have a gemellaggio) and give some stick to their hated rivals.
How to watch
TV: Probably not, but check the full international television listings here.
Online: Here is your list of safe, reliable, and legal streams. If you’re in the US, ESPN+ is showing it; sign up using this link if you don’t have an account yet and Viola Nation will get a little bit of cash (Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links.). Any requests for or links to illegal streams in the comments will be deleted, and anyone who posts them will be treated like Artur Boruc’s television. No Twitter for this one because, again, we’re going to be in the stands.