The stands at Red Bull Arena eventually filled up on this fine Wednesday evening, but Chelsea hardly ever got out of first gear. In the first half, we didn't need to and we still could've been up 3-0. In the second half, Red Bulls enjoyed acres of space on multiple occasions and thus scored roughly a million goals.
Despite the result, it was a useful 90 minutes, as we shook off some rust — and there's quite a bit to shake off, to be sure, with the vast majority of the players still in holiday mode — and still managed to entertain.
A decent mix of first-teamers, backups, and youngsters started the match.
- Thibaut Courtois: didn't have much to do, but did manage to get one of his heads-gone moments out of the way without getting punished, when he was caught in possession.
- Cesar Azpilicueta: solid as usual and a bit more attacking than normal, even.
- Kurt Zouma: missed a great chance, okay in defense
- Gary Cahill: is Gary Cahill
- Branislav Ivanovic: is Branislav Ivanovic, though a bit subdued today
- John Obi Mikel, Cesc Fabregas: both just okay
- Victor Moses: clearly looked to impress and was mostly quite successful at it with his direct, bullish running at defenders; almost scored a ridiculously great goal but it hit the post.
- Oscar: is Oscar
- Bertrand Traore: took a bit to settle, but was mostly promising afterwards
- Loic Remy: scored an easy goal, missed an even easier chance.
Oscar, Kurt Zouma, and Cesar Azpilicueta were the only three to survive the half-time changes. All three continued to play okay as they saw out the full 90. Oscar even managed to draw a wonderful save from Castano before adding to our litany of hilarious misses when it was easier to simply tap it in.
- Asmir Begovic: rough start to his Chelsea career, getting beaten on a cross (clear lack of communication with Zouma somewhat understandable at this point), then conceding thanks to a slack back pass. And then conceding a few more times.
- John Terry: provider of said back pass; also cleared off the line on the Begovic mistake. Apparently not very good at organizing the defense. Wait, what?
- Ola Aina: the youngster didn't do much wrong but got isolated 2-v-1 on the Red Bulls' second goal; defensive communication was quite terrible at various times, as if that wasn't obvious by now.
- Nemanja Matic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ramires: all three just okay in what looked mostly like a 4-3-3 from us in the second half, with the latter two alternating in the shuttler role. (Though Ramires was a bit shocking whenever in defense.)
- Eden Hazard: couple moments of excitement, largely anonymous. Lovely goal from a set play, with Oscar collecting his second assist of the night.
- Diego Costa: a hat-trick ... of missed easy chances; also hit the crossbar with a header from Oscar's free kick
Important reminder: it's just preseason. (Unless you're the Red Bulls and you're wasting time at the end with a corner kick.)
Chelsea are back though and that's always a cause for celebration and happiness and excitement. Next up for us will be Paris Saint-Germain in just a couple days, in Charlotte, NC on Saturday.