Today was a good day, even if we did not get to see Chelsea win, thanks to a late goal from Kawasaki Frontale’s once very promising Brazilian striker, Leandro Damião. But we did get to see Christian Pulisic make his (preseason) Chelsea debut, wearing shirt number 24, which is not his to keep, at least not yet.
Pulisic replaced fellow 20-year-old Mason Mount with 25 minutes to play, getting immediately involved on the left flank, winning multiple corners and pulling off at least one very nice to turn to beat his man on the touchline. Like others, he’s looking to build up fitness for the season (after a brief break form the Gold Cup) and more importantly, getting to know his teammates and his coach’s tactics.
“I’m delighted to be out here with the team, and to play in an actual match for the first time as a Chelsea player feels really good.
“It’s all about working up the fitness and getting ready for the new Premier League season. We are all building up to being match fit and ready to play 90 minutes, and that’s what these games are for.”
The match itself was not easy thanks to a combination of the opponents’ quality, the travel miles, and the humid conditions. Chelsea created few good chances and conceded the winner late on, which stung a bit, but at the end of the day it’s just preseason.
“It was a tough one out there with the humidity, and they were a very good opponent. We saw that with their goal at the end, but you want tough games like that in preseason.
“We wanted to come out with the win, but preseason is all about getting minutes under the belt and I feel great for being out there.”
-Christian Pulisic; source: Chelsea FC
Pulisic played mostly on the left, but did switch with Kenedy (and later Palmer) to act effectively on the right as well, which was good to see. Where he will slot in once the season begins remains to be seen, but as far as first (baby) steps go, this wasn’t bad.
Welcome, Christian. Now that hard work begins!