One of the new commercials for Comcast's new XFINITY X1 voice remote involves the ever-lovable Minions, some of whom want to watch a bit of footy.
Their excitement mirrors my own for this preseason friendly. Which is silly, considering that it's just a meaningless friendly and all. Obviously, it's not meaningless for the players and Mourinho, though even for them, gaining match fitness without picking up injuries will come first and foremost.
Thanks to our subdued transfer window activity (so far), not much has changed between now and the last time we saw Chelsea in action on June 2nd. In fact, backup goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is the only player currently in the squad who's never featured in a Chelsea shirt before. So, welcome back, old friends, youngsters, and loan returnees.
The lack of excitement in the market has been mirrored by the summer activities of the vast majority of our players. Fully rested and recovered, they will need to play even better this coming season to retain the Premier League title. That journey begins here, with the first preparatory match.
Date / Time: Wednesday, July 22, 2015, 8pm EDT; 1am BST (next day); 5:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ, USA
Forecast: A sunny, breezy summer's day leading to comfortable nighttime temperatures
On TV: Chelsea TV (UK); Fox Soccer Plus, ESPN Deportes (USA); Star Sports 4 / HD 4 (India)
Online: Chelsea TV (UK/Int'l); Fox Soccer 2Go, WatchESPN (USA)
New York RB Team News: As it often tends to be the case for "New York" teams, the Red Bulls actually play over in New Jersey. They're not to be confused with the resurrected Cosmos (who play in the second tier NASL), and Manchester City's recently established satellite club New York City FC (who supposedly will actually get to play Frank Lampard at some point soon).
The Red Bulls are the elder statesmen of the area however, drawing attendances accordingly, as one of the founding members of MLS twenty years ago. They were known as the MetroStars then, before joining the Red Bull family of sponsored teams. Despite their illustrious surroundings and big-name players over the years (including half a decade of Thierry Henry), they have never won the MLS championship. They did win the Supporters' Shield two years ago, but having the best record and most points in the regular season doesn't count for much around here.
The current squad is led by Shaun Wright-Phillips' half-brother Bradley, who finds scoring in MLS quite easy. Another former Premier League player is ex-Wolves man Ronald Zubar. And Lloyd Sam was once named to the Charlton bench against Arsenal. Despite their lack of internationally recognized big names (or perhaps because of it), the Red Bulls sit third in the Eastern Conference, comfortably in the playoff spots.
Chelsea Team News: All of our transfer activity (including recent newsmakers like Filipe Luis) involves players who have not travelled with the team to our preseason camp in Montreal, so, presumably, everyone will play. Falcao, Juan Cuadrado, and
Ramires Willian are expected to join up after this match.
Previously: Chelsea have visited the New York metropolitan area several times before, but they've never played against the Red Bulls. We played at Yankee Stadium in both 2012 (PSG) and 2013 (post-season tour vs. Manchester City), as well as Giants Stadium ten years ago (AC Milan).