It is much more than just a friendly.
It is a chance to relax and take a brief vacation. It is an opportunity to start preparations for the Europa League final. It is a reward for the job (well) done this season, especially for young players like Reece James and Connor Gallagher, and others. It is a chance for some fans to meet their heroes. It is a marketing exercise, if you want to be cynical. It is an unnecessary distraction and burden, if you want to be The Sun.
It is an opportunity to spread the message of peace, love, and equality. It is a chance to for Chelsea Foundation to continue their excellent work in various communities around the world. It is a necessary moment to raise money — match proceeds plus $1m each from Abramovich and Kraft, for 15 different organizations! — and awareness, to combat the rising tide of discrimination, hate, racism, anti-Semitism, which stain our modern society.
It is the Final Whistle on Hate.
Date / Time: Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 8pm EDT; 1am BST (next day); 5:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA, USA (Boston metropolitan area)
Forecast: Cool but dry
On TV: Fox Sports 1, FOX Deportes (USA)
More #content: Friends of the blog London is Blue Podcast, Jake Cohen, and Amadí Thiam, among others, are all in Boston so be sure to keep an eye their social media accounts for more fun stuff. The Revolution’s official YouTube will carry a live pregame show as well.
New England Revolution team news: A founding member of Major League Soccer (MLS) in 1994, the Revolution have never won the league despite five MLS Cup final appearances, but did with the US Open Cup back in 2007. They’ve found recent seasons tough going, missing the playoffs in three straight years. This season has been no different so far, with just 2 wins from the opening 12 games of the season — in fact, they sacked both the general manager as well as the head coach, former Premier League goalkeeper Brad Friedel, last week, and just yesterday appointed Bruce Arena to take charge with immediate effect.
Like Chelsea, the Revolution have made all non-injured players available for this match, and that includes former Chelsea Young Player of the Year Michael Mancienne.
“It’s a special moment, especially because of what the game stands for. As athletes, we have a platform to stand up against discrimination and show the world we don’t stand for these kind of hateful things. To do it like this is brilliant. Obviously, to play against one of the best teams in the world is fantastic too, and to play against the club I grew up with and came through the Academy with is massive. It’s really exciting and I’m looking forward to it.”
-Michael Mancienne; source: Chelsea FC
Chelsea team news: Other than the injured quarter of N’Golo Kanté, Antonio Rüdiger, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Ethan Ampadu, plus the already discarded duo of Gary Cahill and Danny Drinkwater, Chelsea have all the big stars on hand. Five youth players and loanees have joined as well, including Reece James, Connor Gallagher, Marc Guehi, Trevoh Chalobah, and Ike Ugbo. Having just played on Sunday, it’s unlikely that any player will complete the full 90 today.
This is Chelsea’s first trip to the States in three years.