A stunning late goal from Mason Mount gave Chelsea a 2-1 victory in their first pre-season match over Club America in Las Vegas.
Timo Werner put the Blues ahead in the 55th minute after seeing his initial attempt from a Reece James cross blocked, but the rebound fell back to the striker to convert.
However, James scored a comical own-goal just five minutes later when trying to pass the ball to goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli which levelled things up.
Thomas Tuchel’s side weren’t to be denied though, as Mount sent a superb curling strike from the edge of the area into the corner to cap a fine second-half display without new signings Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly.
“He brings experience, quality, top defending quality, height, and everything we’re looking for to play a back three or four,” Tuchel said about Koulibaly.
“It’s another brilliant signing for us and we hope he can show his quality as soon as possible. He’s now training outside, he arrived yesterday.
How Chelsea lined up:
- First Half: Arrizabalaga; Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Sarr; Kenedy, Barkley, Gallagher, Chilwell; Ziyech, Havertz, Hudson-Odoi
- Second Half: Bettinelli; Azpilicueta, Ampadu, Emerson; James, Mount, Jorginho, Alonso; Pulisic, Batshuayi, Werner
“He knows some of the players, I think it will be very quick that he feels welcome in the group. It’s a nice group and everybody is very happy that he’s with us now.”
Mexican side Club America, who are mid-season, gave Chelsea a good test in front of a raucous crowd.
Chelsea’s pre-season friendlies:
- Chelsea 2-1 Club America
- Charlotte FC – Thursday July 21, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte; kick-off 12am BST
- Arsenal – Sunday July 24, Camping World Stadium, Florida; kick-off 1am BST
- Udinese – Friday July 29, Dacia Arena, Udine; kick-off 8pm BST
“It was a very difficult match against very difficult opponents in an environment like playing in a full stadium,” said Tuchel.
“The first half was tough for us to create clear chances, we couldn’t score but kept a clean sheet and in the second half we found better solutions, and looked more dangerous.
“So a very good second half, a good first half. We deserved to win and I’m happy that we took that.”
There were more positives for Tuchel as Ben Chilwell returned from injury to play 45 minutes.
The 25-year-old left-back took to the pitch for the first time since suffering an ACL knee injury last November.
“I’m super happy that he’s back,” said Tuchel.
“It’s a difference from training to playing a game and he will take time, but he will get there because he deserves it and we will support him on his way back.
“I’m happy that nobody’s injured after a very physical game and a very physical two weeks.”
Conor Gallagher featured having spent last season on loan at Crystal Palace while Werner similarly impressed following a good end to the previous campaign.
“Timo played 45 minutes like everybody else and Timo scored,” said Tuchel. “That’s what counts and from there we go. There is always stuff to improve, but it’s the first match.
“Kai had a big chance, Michy had a big chance, Timo took the chance and Mason did also.
“I count on the fact that as they become more experienced, they maybe become calmer and adapt more and more. They’re still young players and what we want from them is that they stay confident, stay focused, and do what they need to do as strikers.
“With Conor, it is the same as a midfielder. He trains at a very high level and we can clearly see that it was the right decision to let him go on loan. He made a huge step in his development in this year and became a player for England, and we can see this clearly in training. It is a very good start for him and it was a good match from him.
“Now it is important that he gets used to our principles of the game, to understand when to move when not to move, but his work-rate is outstanding and this can be a big asset for us.”