Another 90 minutes in the books for this preseason, and thankfully so as this one was looking in doubt for a hot minute while thunder and lightning descended on Charlotte, NC and caused a 65-minute delay to kick-off.
But eventually we got underway, and both teams came out with full effort and intent, with Charlotte striker Karol Świderski especially taking this opportunity to raise his level.
But Chelsea’s quality shone through in what had been a fairly even first half up to that point, with Christian Pulisic a beneficiary of a lucky deflection on a Michy Batshuayi shot, presented with an easy chance to slot home in the 30th minute.
Chelsea really turned it on after the goal and dominated the remainder of the half, coming close several times, but not quite able to beat goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina, who also put in a great shift.
A fully rotated (except for the goalkeeper) Chelsea lost all of that rhythm in the second half, and made much more heavy weather of the opposition.
Eventually we did put a couple of flowing moves together in the final quarter of the game, but were unable to make them count. Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling drew one excellent save each, but it was pretty toothless otherwise in the second 45.
And then Charlotte won a penalty in the last seconds of the game for a share of the “spoils”.
And then it still wasn’t over. Confusion reigned but eventually there was a penalty shootout, just like the last time we played a preseason game here.
Still, after all that, at least no injuries and a bit more fitness.
- First half XI (3-4-3): Mendy Emerson, Silva, James Alonso, Kovačić, Jorginho (c), Hudson-Odoi | Pulisic, Batshuayi, Ziyech
- Second half XI (3-4-3): Mendy Sarr, Colwill, Chalobah | Chilwell, Gallagher, Ampadu, Kennedy | Sterling, Havertz, Mount (c)
- Charlotte PKs: Rios (scores), Makoun (scores), Walkes (scores), Mora (scores), Jóźwiak (scores)
- Chelsea PKs: Havertz (scores), Chilwell (scores), Gallagher (saved), Sterling (scores)
- Next up: vs. Arsenal in Orlando, FL on Saturday in the final game of the USA Tour