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Chelsea lose penalty shootout on historic night for MLS team – Sporting Life

Conor Gallagher

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Chelsea continued their pre-season preparations with a 5-3 penalty shootout loss to MLS side Charlotte FC, following a 1-1 draw across 90 minutes in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The Blues came into the match off the back of a 2-1 victory against Liga MX giants Club America last time out. With the Premier League season fast approaching, performances and sharpness are starting to become equally important.

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Conor Gallagher's dreadful penalty during the shootout cost his team a pre-season victory

But if Chelsea thought they’d get an easy ride at Bank of America Stadium, they were sorely mistaken.

Of course, the Premier League side dominated possession, but it was Charlotte who created the best of the early chances, with Poland international Karol Swiderski going close a couple of times, while Peruvian winger Yordy Reyna rattled the post with an effort from distance and tested Reece James throughout.

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Chelsea rode the storm and eventually took the lead on the half-hour mark, with United States international Christian Pulisic firing home from close range after picking up a fortunate deflection.

Though both sides traded blows, it remained 1-0 at half-time, when Charlotte changed their entire starting XI and only Edouard Mendy returned for Chelsea – Raheem Sterling emerging from the bench for his debut.

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But still, Charlotte matched up to their Premier League visitors, creating a number of chances, the standout being a skillful effort from Andre Shinyashiki that forced a save down low from Mendy.

It looked like Charlotte would be unable to find a breakthrough against such illustrious opposition, despite their strong performance. But in the final moments of the match, teenage substitute Brian Romero charged into the box and fired a shot on goal that was blocked with the hand of Trevoh Chalobah. Daniel Rios stepped up and made no mistake to force a penalty shootout.

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Rios stepped up first in the shootout and beat Mendy with a Panenka, while CLTFC teammates Christian Makoun, Anton Walkes, Joseph Mora and Kamil Jozwiak all found the net.

Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell and Raheem Sterling scored for Chelsea, but Conor Gallagher was the unfortunate man to miss.

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It was a historic night for Charlotte FC, while Chelsea walked away with more valuable pre-season minutes under their belts.

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