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Football at Fenway: Roma v. Liverpool

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We're only half way through the work week and it's been a busy one. Destro Watch has mercifully ended, as the young striker finally singed a five year deal with the club. Ivan Piris, a young Paraguayan fullback, is just a signature or two away from being an official Roma player as well. If Baldini has his way, the spending will continue, while Sabatini has visions of Stevan Jovetic dancing through his head.

Now on to the matter of the day, the second leg of the U.S. Tour, Football at Fenway.

The U.S. tour kicked off this past Sunday, with a 4-0 romping over Zaglebie Lubin at Chicago's Wrigley Field in a match that could best be described as uneven, both in terms of the competition on the field and Roma's half-to-half performance, as all 4 goals came in the first 90 minutes. The second half saw a more sustained attack by Zaglebie, which left Zeman bemoaning his team's poor defense of the counter attack.

Tonight's fixture figures to be more competitive, as Roma face English stalwart Liverpool at Boston's Fenway Park. If you don't understand the choice of locale or opponent, you are obviously not familiar with Roma Chairman Thomas DiBenedetto's CV. DiBenedetto is a partner in the Fenway Sports Group, a Boston-based consortium that owns the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park, and Liverpool FC, among other sports-related interests.

DiBenedetto, in a move not associated with Fenway Sports Group, purchased Roma in April of 2011. So while there is not a direct business connection between the two clubs, there is certainly a unique relationship among the club's respective owners. That relationship was tested off the pitch during the Fabio Borini sale and now they meet on a converted pitch at America's oldest baseball stadium, Fenway Park. The match will also be a mini-Roma reunion of sorts, with the dearly departed Borini and Alberto Aquilani featured on the Liverpool squad list.

Built in 1912 and famous for its unique dimensions, principally the 37 foot high wall in left field, known as "The Green Monster", Fenway Park's list of historical baseball moments and milestones is too long to name. Fenway has, however, hosted 19 soccer matches in its 100 years, ranging from 1931 to as recently as 2010, when Celtic played Sporting Lisbon. Given its age and proximity of the fans, Fenway could be described as the baseball version of Anfield, minus the nearly 40 foot wall, of course. The organizers have even set up a "Fenway Kop" for Liverpool fans, situated in what is normally right field.

The first leg of this tour was a success, drawing over 20,000 people to Wrigley Field on a Sunday afternoon. Given how quickly tickets to this match sold out, expect a more raucous atmosphere and hopefully a more competitive match.

For our American audience, the match is being broadcast on ESPN2 at 6:30 P.M. Eastern, followed by the MLS All-Stars taking on Chelsea.