Chelsea’s second match of the “World Series of Football” tournament in the US sees them take on DC United, the champions of Major League Soccer. It’ll be the first time the winners of the Premiership have played their American counterparts.
After an emphatic 1-0 win over AC Milan in the opening fixture, Jose Mourinho has made it clear he intends to continue his policy of giving as many players as possible either forty-five or sixty minutes each.
“I will do the same with defenders and attackers, give them 45 minutes, but with midfield the work is more specific and I will give them again one hour. Last time it was Gudjohnsen, Makelele, Lampard, now it will be Tiago, Jarosik and Diarra,” he said in the pre-match press conference.
I know very little about DC United or their much-hyped wonderkid, 16-year-old Freddy Adu. Apparently Adu’s a bit special, so much so that he’s already been linked with a multi-million pound move to Stamford Bridge. At an exhibition game in Philadelphia during the US tour last year, Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck is reported to have said: “He’s on our radar.” I’m looking forward to seeing him play.
Score prediction: These pre-season exhibition/training matches are notoriously difficult to call, especially when playing an unknown quantity. Major League Soccer is not in the same league as the Premiership, as it were, and DC United will have to be very good to break down The Blues’ defence. Despite DC United’s good record against English sides — they remain unbeaten — I’ll go for a 2-0 Chelsea victory.
The match kicks off at 1am BST and is live on Chelsea TV and online for a one-off fee of £2.99.
The DCenters blog has upped the ante somewhat by laying down this challenge. Let’s hope The Blues don’t let me down!
DC United 1 – 2 Chelsea · Update
Goals from Duff and Crespo won a testing match for The Blues.
DC United started well, passing the ball quickly and accurately before taking an unexpected lead in the 31st minute. Sloppy defending at a corner allowed United’s captain, Bobby Boswell, a free header from close range after he lost his marker in the area.
Chelsea reacted and took more control of the first half; four minutes later Duff equalised. A superb Wright-Phillips cross from the right found the Irishman on the left, who volleyed a fantastic left-footed shot past the DC United ‘keeper from an acute angle, six yards out. The half finished 1-1.
Jose Mourinho made ten changes after the break; only Tiago remained from the original starting eleven.
It wasn’t long before the combination of Robben and Crespo put The Blues 2-1 up. In the 56th minute, a classic Chelsea counter-attack saw the flying Dutchman latch onto a ball from midfield before passing to Crespo, who narrowly avoided being flagged offside. The Argentinian slotted past an advancing ‘keeper from 18 yards with ease to score his first goal for The Blues in over a year.
Frank Lampard should have made it 3-1 in the 82nd minute, but shot wide of the goal to the ‘keeper’s right from 15 yards out. It was an opportunity of the type Lampard doesn’t normally miss.
United tried hard and applied a lot of pressure towards the end but didn’t create any clear cut chances.
Diarra played the whole of the second half. He probably tried too hard and found himself booked for his efforts — but he was a whole lot more effective than Jiri Jarosik, who played the Makelele role during the first half.
All in all a good pre-season workout. Time for some sleep.
Proper reports: BBC Sport, Sky Sports, San Francisco Chronicle (AP), Official Chelsea FC Website, Blue and White Army, Goal, Official DC United Website, Soccer365, CFCNet.
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