Raheem Sterling makes his debut as Charlotte FC beat Chelsea 5-3 on Penalties

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Chelsea’s new signing, Raheem Sterling made his debut for the Premier League club earlier today, July 21, 2022, in a pre-season friendly against Major League Soccer club, Charlotte FC.

Unfortunately for the Premier League club, Raheem Sterling’s presence in the game could not stop Charlotte FC from beating Chelsea 5-3 on penalties.

During the pre-season game, Chelsea had a very good start as United State soccer star, Christian Pulisic gave the Premier League club the lead as early as the 30th minute.

But after the goal, Chelsea’s players could not connect with their attackers even though they enjoyed possession in most of the first half.

In the 46th minute, coach Thomas Tuchel introduced Raheem Sterling into the game. The 27-year-old English left-winger replaced Chelsea’s goalscorer, Pulisic. Unfortunately, the new signing who made a couple of fine runs around Charlotte FC’s eighteen-yard box could not help Chelsea to finish the game.

Raheem Sterling in action for Chelsea against Charlotte FC.
Raheem Sterling in action for Chelsea against Charlotte FC.

Recall that Chelsea paid Manchester City a whopping €56.20 million for the services of Raheem Sterling earlier this month with the hope that he would help them to create chances and convert their chances to goals when necessary.

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But in the game, Sterling proved that he still has a lot of work to do to fully establish himself in Thomas Tuchel’s team in the coming 2022-2023 season.

Sterling’s performance in the friendly game against Charlotte was as average as the rest of Chelsea’s players as they gave away their lead towards the last minute of the game.

Chelsea's Raheem Sterling and Charlotte's King Harrison after the friendly game.
Chelsea’s Raheem Sterling and Charlotte’s King Harrison after the friendly game.

Trevoh Chalobah was Chelsea’s party spoiler as he committed a handball offense in the additional one minute to gift the MLS team a penalty and earned himself a yellow card. Charlotte’s Daniel Rios made no mistake as he scored the equalizer from the spot-kick which was the last kick of the game.

Hence, the game had to be decider via penalty shootout. Charlotte scored all their spot-kicks but Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher missed his spot-kick to hand the MLS club a rare victory over the Premier League club.

What did coach Thomas Tuchel say about Raheem Sterling and Chelsea’s defeat to Charlotte FC?

What did coach Thomas Tuchel say about Raheem Sterling and Chelsea's defeat to Charlotte FC?
Coach Thomas Tuchel of Chelsea.

After Chelsea lost the Preseason friendly to Charlotte FC 5-3 on penalties, the coach of the Premier League side, Thomas Tuchel admitted that his side didn’t do enough, especially in the second half to win the game.

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“Second half, it took us half an hour to show some quality, and then it was maybe for ten minutes, so it was not good at all. Not offensively, not structure-wise, not in effort, hunger to be the dominant team. It was not good enough”, he said.

On Raheem Sterling’s input in the game, Tuchel noted: “So it doesn’t matter what I have in my mind, the only thing that matters is what I see on the pitch. I saw four accelerations in the second half and they all came from Raheem.

“This is what he delivers and there is no need for major doubts or huge criticism, but it is never important what the manager has in his head before pre-season, it’s the reality that counts. Every day in training and matches like this count and from there we go.”

What next for Chelsea?

After losing 5-3 on penalties to Charlotte FC earlier today, Chelsea are expected to return to Orlando where they have been camping since they left Los Angeles. Recall that while they were in Los Angeles the Premier League club beat Club America 2-1 in a friendly game.

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Thomas Tuchel and his boys will continue with their training in Orlando in anticipation of their preseason-friendly game against Arsenal which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, July 24, 2022.

The match which will kick off at 01:00 at the Camping World Stadium will earn the winner the Florida Cup. After that, Chelsea will depart the United States for Italy to take on Udinese in a friendly game on July 29, 2022.

Thomas Tuchel and his boys will commence their 2022-2023 Premier League campaign on August 6, 2022. Their first game of the season is against Everton.

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