Pompey battle but lose 2-1 to Club America
After a gruelling 42-hour journey the last thing many people would want to do is play a football match, right?
When you have, quite literally, half a dozen 1st team players available to face a team full of experience and international pedigree even less so...
Play a game we did though as the 'American Tour' kicked-off against Club America, one of Mexico's finest club sides no less.
I have to be honest I was expecting something of a battering, and after conceding a couple of early goals it could have easily happened but we battled on and managed to get a goal back in the 2nd half when Tom Kilbey, who 'should' be in for a good season so keep an eye out for this kid, scored.
Below is the official report from The Pompey Site...
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Club America 2 Pompey 1
by Mark Storey at the Qualcomm Stadium
Club America's fans came to the Qualcomm Stadium to see Pompey get a hiding.
But the Blues didn't read the script.
There was no heavy defeat, no humiliation for a Pompey side full of youngsters and still reeling from a 42-hour journey just to get here.
The Blues played with a pride and a passion that did full justice to the famous star and crescent badge on their shirts.
Pompey could have buckled after conceding two early goals scored by Enrique Esqueda and Israel Martinez.
But they held firm - and got their reward with a second-half goal from Tom Kilbey.
It would have always been a test for Pompey against one of Mexico's leading sides. But with so many youngsters in the side, it was huge.
Starters Liam O'Brien, Tom Kilbey and Nadir Ciftci have yet to play in a competitive first-team fixture for the Blues. Yet here they were facing a side sprinkled with seasoned internationals.
The make-do-and-mend feel of Pompey was reflected by Hayden Mullins and Matt Ritchie, both midfielders, playing as full-backs.
Trialist Stephen Jordan, last at Burnley, partnered Marc Wilson in central defence, with Kilbey, Richard Hughes and Michael Brown in midfield.
David Nugent spearheaded the attack with Tommy Smith and Nadir Ciftci out wide.
A 42-hour journey to San Diego, taking in three flights and four airports, was hardly the ideal preparation for the Blues, whose only training session came on the morning of the game.
Pompey wore their white, maroon and pink FA Cup final kit but instead of 'Abide With Me' playing before kick-off it was the 'Star Spangled Banner'.
The crowd may have been small but the Club America fans, decked out in yellow and blue, made up for it with their noise, proving the drone of vuvuzelas is not confined to South Africa.
For a side still fatigued from travelling Pompey started brightly, with a 30-yard effort from Ciftci that flew narrowly wide the highlight.
But Club America, managed by former Mexico coach Manuel Lapuente, played with pace and flair and needed just 15 minutes to take the lead.
A ball over the top from Martinez caught Pompey's defence flat-footed, leaving Esqueda to round O'Brien and score.
Two minutes later and a rout beckoned with Martinez racing onto a back-heel and drilling his shot past Pompey's England under-19 goalkeeper.
But Pompey steadied themselves and nearly pulled one back with Ciftci's far-post header from Ritchie's corner cleared off the line by Martinez.
For the handful of travelling Blues fans, it was at least something.
And things got better six minutes after the break when KILBEY scored the club's first-ever goal in North America.
It was a moment shrouded in controversy - not that Pompey were complaining.
When Kilbey tucked in the rebound after Nugent got his head on Ritchie's free-kick, the linesman's flag went straight up for offside.
But the American referee ran straight across to his colleague, had a brief word, and then gave the goal.
Replays on the big screen showed Kilbey was offside, but no-one would argue Pompey aren't due a break.
The Club America players didn't like it and temperatures raised further when Aquivaldo Mosquera stamped on Nugent's back, earning a yellow card.
Martinez should have followed him into the book, but the referee missed his slap on Brown.
Meanwhile Jon Stewart, a half-time substitute for O'Brien, was impressing in Pompey's goal, saving expertly from Daniel Montenegro and Adolfo Rosinei.
But there was no way through for Club America as much as they pressed.
Pompey: O'Brien (Stewart 46); Mullins, Jordan, Wilson, Ritchie; Kilbey (Martin 89), Brown, Hughes (Pack 77); Smith, Nugent (Gregory 81), Ciftci
Club America: Navarrete (Ochoa 46), Corral, Mosquera, Valenzuela, Rojas, Sanchez (Pavel 46), Rosinei (Layun 90), Martinez, Esqueda (Lopez 49), Montenegro, Vuoso