Charlotte is in its first season of existence, the latest MLS expansion side in the league, and it has already seen one coach fired through the first months of play. But they have surprised thus far, sitting just outside the playoff positions in the Eastern Conference more than halfway through the campaign.
Chelsea, meanwhile, topped Club America 2-1 in the preseason opener on Saturday, needing goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount to overcome a Reece James own goal. All the scoring came in the second half after head coach Thomas Tuchel made 11 changes at the break.The Chelsea squad is very much in flux, with new signings Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly over the line but more reinforcements on the way, likely on the defensive side. Meanwhile, the attacking ranks are overflowing, and departures may be necessary to cull the roster.
When asked what his goal from the friendly is, Charlotte FC head coach Christian Lattanzio said, “I would like to have a team that competes to give a good game to Chelsea, and therefore to our supporters so they enjoy the experience. It’s right that we respect Chelsea, but at the same time we don’t over-respect Chelsea, because we also have professional players who can compete.”Sporting News will be following the match live and providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happen.
Charlotte FC vs. Chelsea live score
Charlotte FC vs. Chelsea live updates, highlights from friendly
62 mins to kick: With lineups imminent, the PA announcer has requested fans to exit their seats and head for the concourse due to impending weather. It’s coming fast, and will be ugly for a bit, but shouldn’t last long (fingers crossed).
Updated weather report for tonight: YIKES.
— Kyle Bonn (@the_bonnfire) July 20, 2022
95 mins to kick: All eyes will be on the Chelsea attack today. There are only so many minutes to go around this season, even with the expanded substitutes in the Premier League this season. Thomas Tuchel admitted his forward room is jam packed, and he will be looking to establish some continuity on the field through the season to keep his best players in form. Solid preseason performances will go a long way for guys like Christian Puilsic, Hakim Ziyech, and Timo Werner towards solidifying a regular role.
I asked Tuchel if he thinks there will be enough mins to go around with all the attacking players at #CFC
“We will be keen to find a consistent starting lineup that provides danger to the opponent. We have lots of offensive players, and we need to find positions and roles.”
— Kyle Bonn (@the_bonnfire) July 19, 2022
112 mins to kick: Christian Pulisic is back in his home nation, and he’s exploring sights throughout Chelsea’s travel across the country. After the Club America match in Las Vegas, Chelsea have the Charlotte match plus another in Orlando against Arsenal before heading back home to London. All of that in eight days’ time!
What a voice, Christian! 🎤
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 18, 2022
120 mins to kick: I am live on site in Charlotte to bring you all the action pre-match, during the game, and after the final whistle. Hope you can stick around!
Weather is glorious at the moment, but there are storms in the area potentially headed this way, so any weather updates will be in here as well.
— Kyle Bonn (@the_bonnfire) July 20, 2022
Charlotte FC vs. Chelsea lineups
Charlotte FC head coach Christian Lattanzio did not indicate who would play in the match, but he did say that “most of the lads, hopefully everyone, will get some minutes, for some 45 minutes and for some a little bit less” indicating that he will likely make wholesale changes at halftime.
Lattanzio also said that he has not ruled anyone out for the match, meaning everyone is theoretically available. It’s likely a chance for young players like Ben Bender, George Marks, Quinn McNeill, and Christian Makoun who are fighting for consistent places to earn future playing time. Andre Shinyashiki, who has seen his playing time shrink under Lattanzio, will also see these minutes as critical for proving his worth as more than just a late substitute option.
Club captain Christian Fuchs will surely get a run-out, likely from the start, to give fans a look at the former Premier League player and to help the younger players stay strong against a talented opponent.
Charlotte FC first-choice lineup (4-5-1): Kahlina (GK) — Fuchs, Corujo, Walkes, Afful – Reyna, McNeill, Bronico, Ruiz, Jozwiak – Swiderski.
Charlotte FC subs (9): (Lineups released one hour prior to kickoff)
In his pre-match press conference, Thomas Tuchel would not be drawn on who would play in this match, but he did give a few hints. It’s likely that fans will see new signing Raheem Sterling from the opening whistle, while conversely, it’s likely too early for new defender Kalidou Koulibaly to make an appearance.
American international Christian Pulisic got 45 minutes against Club America in Las Vegas on Saturday, coming on at halftime, but it’s unclear if he’ll get another opportunity in Charlotte. The USMNT star is fighting for a place in the crowded Chelsea attack, with the likes of Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Mason Mount, and Michy Batshuayi all vying for minutes.
Both Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso played 45 minutes against Club America, but with the two rumored to be leaving for Barcelona in the coming weeks, they could be passed over for minutes in favor of those Tuchel wishes to evaluate further. Mateo Kovacic was held out against Club America to manage his workload, but he could see time today. N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek did not travel due to their vaccination status.
Chelsea projected starting lineup (3-4-3): Mendy (GK) — Sarr, Ampadu, Chalobah — Chilwell, Jorginho, Kovacic, James — Pulisic, Sterling, Havertz.
Chelsea subs (9): (Lineups released one hour prior to kickoff)
How to watch Charlotte FC vs. Chelsea
|Date||Thurs, July 21||Weds, July 20||Weds, July 20||Thurs, July 21|
|Time||00:30 BST||19:30 ET||19:30 ET||09:30 AEST|
|Streaming||ChelseaFC.com, 5th Stand App||ESPN+||ChelseaFC.com, 5th Stand App||ChelseaFC.com, 5th Stand App|
The club friendly between Charlotte FC and Chelsea from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC can be viewed globally on ChelseaFC.com and the 5th Stand App.
In the United States, the match can be streamed on ESPN’s exclusive streaming service ESPN+ which requires a subscription.
Charlotte FC vs. Chelsea betting odds & lines
As you can imagine, Chelsea are heavy favorites against Charlotte FC, especially after how badly Barcelona dismantled fellow MLS side Inter Miami just the night before. Still, the spread is just 1.5 goals, indicating that while many expect Chelsea to emerge victoriously, there is respect for the fight Charlotte are expected to put up. In contrast, Inter Miami was a 2.5 goal underdog against Barcelona before losing by six.
There is also a swing towards one team, likely Chelsea, to keep a clean sheet given that the “No” on Both Teams To Score is the predicted outcome (-138).
|Charlotte FC win||+1000|
to score Y / N
|+100 / -138|
|Over / Under||-175 / +135|
|Charlotte FC +1.5||-125|