Charlotte FC vs. Chelsea result: Pulisic scores but plucky hosts win it in penalty shootout
Christian Pulisic scored on home soil, but Chelsea found the going tough against a determined and energized Charlotte FC.
The American took a lucky deflection and turned it into Chelsea’s only goal on the half-hour mark, securing the USMNT star a fine evening deployed as a No. 10.
Yet Charlotte FC left no breathing room for Chelsea midfielders, as interim head coach Christian Lattanzio engineered a positive home performance to make life difficult for the likes of Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz.
“We were good for 80 meters of the pitch, but were not good enough in the final 20 meters,” said Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel after the match.
“Today is on us, they showed courage and belief, man-marking us one-on-one. Whenever you give the stadium belief like we did anything can happen”
With the final kick of the game, 16-year-old Charlotte FC academy product Brian Romero won a penalty via a Trevoh Chalobah handball.
That saw Daniel Rios strike from the spot and level the scoreline at 1-1. In these showcase friendlies, a “winner” is required, meaning the game went to a shootout.
All five Charlotte FC penalty takers scored, and goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega - the third keeper used by Charlotte in the match - saved a miserable Panenka attempt from Connor Gallagher that proved the difference.
Charlotte FC wins the match on penalties! Why, you ask? Why not! It's a wonderful moment for the home side who produced a fabulous 90 minutes and come out with a draw win. It's a pre-season friendly, but this will do wonders for the confidence of the players and the profile of Lattanzio.
It's an entertaining conclusion to an entertaining match. The hosts came to play and matched Chelsea toe-for-toe the entire way, sitting back and absorbing pressure when needed but also venturing forward on plenty of occasions.
And guess what...because these pre-season friendly matches come as part of a larger series...WE HAVE A PENALTY SHOOTOUT!