The match between Charlotte FC and Chelsea finished in a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was decided on penalties by Charlotte FC, 5-3.
However, after defeating Club America 2-1, Thomas Tuchel’s team was only able to continue their perfect 90-match run in the US during their preseason tour with a tie.
Christian Pulisic gave Chelsea the lead midway through the North Carolina game when Michy Batshuayi’s effort was blocked and fell into his path. He slipped the ball past Kristijan Kahlina without making a mistake, giving Thomas Tuchel’s squad a lead going into the break.
At halftime, 10 players were replaced, leaving only Edouard Mendy from Chelsea. Raheem Sterling was unveiled, making his first public appearance since joining the team from Manchester City.
No goals had been scored up until Trevoh Chalobah handled in the box in stoppage time of the second half. Unexpectedly, Daniel Rios stepped up and slipped a shot past Edouard Mendy to send the match to penalties.
Charlotte won 5-3 in penalties after Conor Gallagher failed to make the one extra point.
Here are five things we can learn from the exhibition game.
1) In the first of many games, Raheem Sterling makes his Chelsea debut: The 27-year-old made his Blues debut by joining Mason Mount and Kai Havertz in an attack after the break in the action. He almost scored in the first five minutes, but Conor Gallagher’s pass was intercepted just as the winger was ready to have an easy tap-in. It was immediately clear from his motions that he was slowing down before finding that burst of speed to provoke fouls from the Charlotte FC side. A successful debut for the assailant.
2) The last 45-minute fitness test: Thomas Tuchel made substantial halftime substitutions, just like he did last weekend against Club America. The only player to play the whole 90 minutes was Edouard Mendy, who was completely replaced at the half against the Mexican team and once more against Charlotte FC. Given that Chelsea’s head coach wants to raise the bar on fitness and prepare his players for a full 90 minutes of play, this is probably the last time he does it.
3) The importance of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in controlling: Thomas Tuchel started Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic as the midfield pivot in the first half, but they were swapped out for Ethan Ampadu and Conor Gallagher at the halftime. The pair continued their partnership from the previous year, providing control for the Blues and spotting passing lanes.
4) Future developments are foreshadowed by the merger of Sterling, Havertz, and Mount: Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling, and Kai Havertz are anticipated to be Tuchel’s preferred front three for Chelsea in the upcoming campaign. By working well together in the second half after entering the game, Mount and Sterling demonstrated early signs of chemistry. Both had scoring opportunities, giving the Blues a glimpse of what to anticipate in the next year.
5. Ethan Ampadu making a statement about becoming a Chelsea player: After taking the field as a center-back against Club America, the 21-year-old demonstrated to Thomas Tuchel his versatility by playing in the middle of the field against Charlotte FC. In his pursuit of a berth in Chelsea’s starting lineup for the following season, his performance did him no harm. His decision-making in the middle of the field, passing, and distribution were all excellent. an important advantage for Tuchel.