Charlotte FC vs. Chelsea, Friendly: Preview, team news, how to watch

Game number two of Chelsea’s preseason tour sees the Blues take on local side Charlotte FC, Major League Soccer’s newest franchise, in Charlotte, North Carolina. It will be our second game in The Queen City (named after Queen Charlotte) in our last three preseason trips to the US, with a match against PSG being part of the tour in 2015.

Regardless of setting or opponents, the focus will be on preparing for the season — and engaging with fans. Thomas Tuchel has been putting the squad through intense sessions in the sweltering heat and humidity of the Orlando camp, and is looking to start focusing on tactical as opposed physical aspects in the second week of the tour.

Date/Time: Wednesday, July 20, 2022, 7:30pm EDT; 12:30am BST (next day); 5am ​​IST (next day)
Venue: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC, USA
Forecast: Hot, humid, chance of thunderstorms

On-TV: none (USA); none (UK); Sony TEN 2 (India); SuperSport Football Plus (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: ESPN+ (USA); Chelsea TV (UK); Sony LIV (India); DStv Now (NGA)

Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Charlotte FC team news: The team’s inaugural season isn’t going too badly, with the team sitting just outside the playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, though they did fire their first ever head coach a couple months ago, after just 14 games. Long-time Leicester City man, Christian Fuchs, the team captain, blamed that on a bit of the old palpable discord. Highly experienced Christian Lattanzio, a former Manchester City youth coach as well as Patrick Vieira’s former assistant at OGC Nice, is the interim man in charge.

Poland international and former PAOK striker Karol Świderski is the team’s leading goalscorer, while experienced Ghana international Harrison Afful also provides a bit of veteran leadership in addition to Fuchs.

“I think the players, team and coach will show their best face, mentality and performance. I am sure they will prepare in a very serious way and will not see it as a friendly match. That is how I would handle it. [But] in the end, pre-season is 99% about your own team, own development, finding your own form. That is where the focus will be.”

-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London

Chelsea Pre-Season Training Session

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Chelsea team news: Tuchel gave 22 players 45 minutes each on Saturday, and something similar is probably in the cards for Wednesday night, especially after cutting the squad down to a slightly more manageable size by sending a few kids away.

Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly are both in line for their first appearances of preseason, and hopefully both Levi Colwill and Mateo Kovačić are fit enough now to take part — especially Colwill, who could still be this preseason’s Trevoh Chalobah.

“With Levi, it is too early to give an answer. What I will say now, I maybe have to take back or give another opinion in a few weeks, I simply haven’t seen enough of him in our group. He got a bit of an injury and was out of training for several days. Once you are out it takes a while to catch up against especially those who aren’t used to that level.

“The fact he is still here is very easy we don’t know him enough so he needs to stay here. We need more impressions of him to get a better outlook on the situation. But like what Chalobah did last season, everyone is invited to do the same.”

-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London

Previously: Last time we were in Charlotte, a 1-1 draw against PSG was decided on penalty kicks. One of those PKs, the one by Thibaut Courtois, is still one of the best I’ve ever seen.

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