Another 90 minutes in the books for this preseason, and thankfully, as this one was in doubt for a hot minute as thunder and lightning descended on Charlotte, NC and caused a 65-minute delay to the start.
But eventually we got going, and both teams came out with all their effort and intent, and Charlotte forward Karol Świderski especially took 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 the beneficiary of a lucky deflection off a Michy Batshuayi shot, presenting him with an easy chance to score in the 30th minute. .
Chelsea really lit up after the goal and dominated the rest of the half, going close several times but failing to beat goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina, who also made a big change.
A completely rotated Chelsea (except for the goalkeeper) lost all that rhythm in the second half and made the opposition’s climate much more difficult.
We eventually put a couple of fluid moves together in the final quarter of the game, but couldn’t make them count. Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling each pulled off an excellent save, but it was pretty useless otherwise at 45 seconds.
And then Charlotte won a penalty in the closing seconds of the match for a share of the “spoils.”
And then it still wasn’t over. Confusion reigned, but eventually there was a penalty shootout, like the last time we played a pre-season game here.
Still, after all that, at least no injuries and a bit more fitness.
Part One XI (3-4-3): Mendy | Emerson, Silva, James | Alonso, Kovacic, Jorginho (c), Hudson-Odoi | Pulisic, Batshuayi, Ziyech
Second half XI (3-4-3): Mendy | Sarr, Colwill, Chalobah | Chilwell, Gallagher, Ampadu, Kenedy | Sterling, Havertz, Monte (c)
Charlotte PK: Rios (scores), Makoun (scores), Walkes (scores), Mora (scores), Jóźwiak (scores)
Chelsea PKs: Havertz (scores), Chilwell (scores), Gallagher (saves), Sterling (scores)
Next: vs. Arsenal in Orlando, FL on Saturday in the final game of the US Tour.