Chelsea will be bidding to make it back-to-back victories at the start of their pre-season tour of the United States when they take on Charlotte FC on Wednesday night. The Blues opened their preparations for the 2022-23 campaign with a 2-1 victory over Club America on Saturday, while Charlotte suffered a 3-2 loss to Inter Miami in MLS last time out. Charlotte were only formed in December 2019, and the club are playing in their first ever MLS season this term, picking up 26 points from 21 matches to sit eighth in the Eastern Conference. Christian Lattanzio’s side will enter this contest off the back of a 3-2 loss at Inter Miami on Saturday, with the home side coming from two goals behind to secure all three points.
Yordy Reyna hit a brace to send the away side ahead in Florida, but Phil Neville’s team, who will take on Barcelona in a friendly on Tuesday, managed to recover, hitting the winner in the 93rd minute of the clash. Charlotte will certainly have one eye on their next MLS contest against Toronto FC on July 23, but the match with Chelsea will surely go down as the biggest in their short history. The Crown have Christian Fuchs in their ranks, with the Premier League title-winning defender joining the club last year after his departure from Leicester City. Chelsea, meanwhile, opened their pre-season with a 2-1 success over Club America on Saturday, with Timo Werner and Mason Mount scoring in the second half of the match.
The Blues are now preparing to take on Charlotte and Arsenal in their next two fixtures before facing Udinese in their final friendly of the summer at the end of the month. Thomas Tuchel’s side will face Everton in their Premier League opener on August 6, and the club will be looking to close the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool in England’s top flight next term, in addition to challenging for success in the Champions League. Romelu Lukaku, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen have left Stamford Bridge this summer, but there have been two exciting additions in the shape of Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly, and there is expected to be more movement before the end of the transfer window.
Chelsea also have a number of loan players back at the club this summer, with Conor Gallagher and Ethan Ampadu among those looking to impress Tuchel with a view to being a part of the first-team squad for the new season. Charlotte interim head coach Lattanzio will need to make a check on the fitness of his players following their energy-zapping contest with Inter Miami at the weekend. The home side will definitely be without the services of Adam Armour and Vinicius Mello, though, with the former out with a knee injury while the latter has a foot problem. Reyna, who scored a brace against Inter Miami, is again expected to feature in a wide position for the MLS outfit, while there is likely to be a spot at centre-forward for Karol Swiderski.
As for Chelsea, head coach Tuchel will make changes to the side that started against Club America last time out, with Edouard Mendy, Reece James, Mount and Jorginho expected to come into the XI. There could also be debuts for Sterling and Koulibaly, with the latter potentially featuring in a back three alongside Trevoh Chalobah and Thiago Silva. Tuchel might want to have another look at Gallagher from the first whistle, with the England international potentially featuring alongside Jorginho, while Callum Hudson-Odoi could start once again. Chelsea are missing N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek on their tour, though, with the midfield duo unable to make the trip due to their COVID-19 vaccination status.
Charlotte FC possible starting lineup:
Kahlina; Afful, Corujo, Walkes, Fuchs; Jozwiak, McNeill, Bronico, Ruiz, Reyna; Swiderski
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Chalobah, Silva, Koulibaly; James, Jorginho, Gallagher, Chilwell; Hudson-Odoi, Havertz, Mount