Attending the “Final Whistle on Hate” match was an absolute dream come true as a Chelsea fan, domestic to the United States. Watching the boys in blue up-close allows the ability to truly see the class that each Chelsea player boasts. Outside of personnel choices, each Blue was clearly more talented than their Revolution counterpart. Furthermore, it was great to see the support that Chelsea had at Gillette, with fans starting several chants and the players receiving and outstanding ovation at full time. Ruben Loftus-Cheek up close particularly impressed, showing off his unique combination of skill and strength. These matches get a bad rapport in England and the timing of this one can certainly be questioned. However, I have to admit that selfishly, I quite enjoyed the experience. I hope to have many more in the future.
Youngsters got their minutes. Conor Gallagher, Reece James, and Trevoh Chalobah all made first team appearances last night in Boston. The energy and passion that they all had was very clear, finding themselves in the action all over the pitch. James showed very well against his Revolution counterpart compared to Zappacosta, showing off his strength and patience on the ball right away.
The clubs raised over $4 million because of this match, for their antisemitism campaign. It is amazing to see the players being able to visit a site like the Holocaust Memorial in Boston and learn about the history and honor the memories of those who struggled in the early 20th century.
“It was great to come to a different country, miles away from home, and you feel the same love like you feel at home. I just have to say thank you so much to everybody here. We came here for a big cause, not to play football but to make people understand that nobody is different to anybody else.”
– David Luiz
There is only one, and it’s the talk of the town. In the 69th minute, Ruben Loftus-Cheek went down after a tackle, holding his ankle and writhing in pain. The team doctors came out and assessed the situation, Willy Caballero had just walked over to them and overheard a bit of conversation, and instantly motioned to the bench for a substitute. Ruben was helped off the pitch unable to put any pressure on his ankle, and he left the stadium on crutches and in a temporary boot. It is rumored that he had ruptured his Achilles tendon, which would have him out for almost 6 months.
This was most fans’ biggest fears heading into this match, with a heavy risk of injury before a massive Europa League Final tie against Arsenal in Baku. The pitch in New England was very poor, with patches of dry grass very obvious even from the stands. But the dangers were there regardless, same as in training, nobody was expected to play “lightly”.
On to the Next
It is important to understand that nobody aside from Roman Abramovich and the board is at fault for this result. Sarri very publicly stated his distaste for the timing of this charity match, knowing very well that this was quite the risk. This deal was penned with the intent of having the best of the best at Chelsea taking the field, and it would be unfair to assume that Sarri had all the say in the lineups.
Us Americans have had a wonderful experience with this, trips like these to America are ones that not only build the Chelsea fan base, but also create more match-going fans. We wake up at some decent early hours every weekend to watch our lads in blue, so it is a dream to be able to see them in the flesh. Whilst the timing could have been much better, the intentions and the outcome was a great success.
As many fans wake up with feelings of regret and anger, we must focus our heads on Baku. Ruben is going to need time and support to heal, but believe me when I say that he would want nothing more than for us Blues to support his counterparts in the midfield. We’ve got to back our players. Ross Barkley and Mateo Kovacic have proven that they can have good days. It may also very well be the final appearance in blue for Eden Hazard. Every team faces adversity, let’s show we can handle it.
Written by Liam Hungate (@liamhungate). Contributions by @tylerstrauss1.