MATCH PREVIEW: Charlotte FC vs. Chelsea

Chelsea will play their second game of the U.S. tour and the first against Charlotte FC at Bank of America Stadium after playing Mexican champions Club América in Las Vegas July 16th. Chelsea last played in Charlotte in 2015 against Paris Saint-Germain. Victor Moses cancelled out Zlatan Ibrahimović’s first-half strike to tie the game at 1-1 and send the game to penalties. Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois stopped Thiago Silva’s penalty, then buried the next one to give the Blues a 6-5 win. The two teams met later that season in the Champions League round of 16 with PSG advancing on away goals after the two sides tied 1-1 in Paris then 2-2 in London.

Chelsea will look to extend its historic run of success as the English club with the most trophies over the last twenty years. Since the 2012-13 season, Chelsea has finished in the top-five of the Premier League nine out of ten seasons, winning the title in 2014-15 and 2016-17. With trophies in the EFL Cup in 2014-15, the FA Cup in 2017-18, the Europa League in 2012-13 and 2018-19, the Champions League in 2020-21, and both the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup in 2021-22, the Blues have won nine titles in the past decade. The Blues reached the final of the FA Cup in five of the past six seasons and finished runners-up twice in the EFL Cup over the last four years.

The Blues prepare to build on a season that ended with a strong run of form. Since January 23rd, Chelsea finished 9-3-3 in league play and 4-0-2 in cup play with the draws coming in penalty-kick final losses to Liverpool. In international play, during that span, the Blues went 5-1-1 with the only loss coming in the Champions League to Real Madrid and the draw resulting in a penalty-kick win over Villareal in the UEFA Super Cup.

Charlotte FC prepare for the second half of the MLS season on the verge of reaching the playoffs in their first season, which would make them the eighth MLS franchise to accomplish that feat. Charlotte’s six home wins are tied for the most by any Eastern Conference team with New York City FC and tied for second league-wide. Charlotte is 4-4-1 in league play since suffering a 2-1 loss to Orlando City in late April, a stretch that included a win over the East’s top team New York Red Bulls and the club’s first away win against the Houston Dynamo.

Karol Świderski, the Poland international, leads the team in scoring along with Andre Shinyashiki with 4 goals each in MLS play. Shinyashiki also scored in Charlotte’s 5-1 win over the Richmond Kickers in the U.S. Open Cup round of 32. Świderski has 5 goals and 1 assist in his last 9 appearances for Poland. Captain Christian Fuchs will meet Chelsea for the first time since his Leicester City defeated the Blues in the 2021 FA Cup. Brandt Bronico, who played for UNC Charlotte, leads the team in tackles from his central midfield position and ranks third in minutes played. Rookie Ben Bender, the first pick in the 2022 MLS Super Draft, has 3 goals and 3 assists this season. Goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina has 5 clean sheets and a 72.7% save percentage, and Charlotte’s 23 goals against ranks as the fifth-fewest in the Eastern Conference.  

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