Blues fall to Werder Bremen 3-0 in Courtois’ Chelsea debut

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Thibaut Courtois, Cesc Fabregas, John Terry, Diego Costa, and Fernando Torres all started, but Chelsea slumped to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of German side Werder Bremen.

The match also marked the return of Didier Drogba in blue, but the Ivorian was unable to help his team as they barely offered anything on the offensive.

Also getting time was Eden Hazard and Gary Cahill, and Petr Cech played the second half between the sticks.

The German club bagged its first in the 20th minute when Dutch winger Eljero Elia converted a penalty following a Terry handball in the box.  The successful spot kick sailed by Courtois, who was playing his first minutes in a Chelsea shirt after spending three years on loan at Atletico Madrid.

The second came 17 minutes later as Ludovic Obraniak expertly headed home past Courtois, leaping above the Chelsea defense of Terry and Kurt Zouma to poke an unsaveable header into the back of the net.

Courtois did pick up one excellent save, on former Blue Franco Di Santo, as the Belgian keeper stretched far to his right to stop a free header.

His goalkeeping competition didn’t fare much better in the second half, as Cech conceeded Bremen’s third in the final minutes as young Chelsea defender Nathan Ake brought down Nils Peterson in the box, and Felix Kroos – younger brother of Toni Kroos – pounded home the penalty.

Chelsea had little going forward, and while Hazard made a small impact looking to pair up with Drogba at the front, it was a poor effort overall.

The loss is the first of the preseason for Chelsea.  They have wins over Wycombe Wanderers, AFC Wimbledon, Vitesse Arnham, and Slovenian side NK Olimpija Ljubljana. They have one more preseason fixture to go before the Premier League season starts, a date with Real Sociedad at home.

Moyes: Chicharito could miss two weeks with hamstring strain

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David Moyes has given Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez assurances that he’ll have the opportunity to compete for a starting role with the Hammers, but the Mexican international will have to wait a bit for a chance.

[ MORE: North London Derby takes center stage Saturday morning ]

Hernandez, 29, is currently nursing a hamstring strain, leaving his status for this weekend against Watford in doubt.

“I think everyone knows he [Chicharito] has got a hamstring injury,” Moyes said during Friday’s press conference. “It could take a week, it could take two weeks.”

Moyes didn’t mince words recently when speaking about Chicharito and other players within the squad, essentially pointing out that no player will be awarded a starting role simply because of their stardom.

Hernandez has scored four goals in 13 matches this season for West Ham, who currently sits 18th in the Premier League. The Hammers have won just two matches to start the 2017/18 campaign and sit on nine points.

Alessandro Nesta steps down with NASL side Miami FC

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Miami FC quickly put itself on the U.S. soccer map in two short seasons, and much of the club’s success can be attributed to manager Alessandro Nesta.

[ MORE: Chris Coleman steps down with Wales, expected to take Sunderland job ]

The former Serie A defender has managed the club in its first two years of existence, but Nesta’s time in South Beach is coming to an end.

Nesta revealed on Friday that he won’t be returning to the NASL club in 2018, as he prepares to fnd a “new challenge” in his managerial career.

With NASL’s future as a league very much up in the air, Nesta could be seeking a more stable position entering 2018, especially given that his name has been thrown around with several MLS jobs over the last few months.

Orlando City raised over $300,000 in friendly for Puerto Rico hurricane relief

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It isn’t always the score at the end of the match that matters, and Orlando City proved that with its recent friendly to benefit those affected by hurricanes in Puerto Rico.

[ MORE: Whitecaps announce USL affiliation with expansion side Fresno FC ]

Orlando City faced off with the Puerto Rico national team on Nov. 4, which the Lions won 6-1, but it was the club’s humanitarian efforts that proved to be the real story from the event.

The club announced that it raised $327,530 from the match, with all proceeds from the event going directly to the Puerto Rican people.

“I’m very proud of what our Club and our partners were able to accomplish,” Orlando City SC owner Flavio Augusto da Silva said in a team statement. “What we did meant more than just raising funds for Puerto Rico. Once again, we came together as a community to rally behind something bigger than us all.”

Whitecaps announce USL affiliation with expansion side Fresno FC

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The Vancouver Whitecaps will continue their stake in USL next season, but it won’t be with their current affiliate.

[ MORE: Caleb Porter out with the Portland Timbers ]

The Western Conference side announced on Friday that it will bring a new affiliate into USL in 2018 as Fresno FC makes its debut in the Division II league.

In the wake of this decision by the Whitecaps, the club’s current USL side, Vancouver Whitecaps 2, won’t be returning to the league in the near future.

“First of all, we would like to thank every person who has worked tirelessly with Whitecaps FC 2 over the past three seasons,” said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi. “With both the USL and Canadian soccer landscapes evolving, now is the right time to make this change for our club. We are delighted to be working with Fresno FC, where the USL will provide the opportunity for high-level competition that will benefit our first team in MLS in the future. We expect that the internal competition for playing time at Fresno FC will provide a tremendous and challenging environment for our top young players.”

The relationship between Vancouver and Fresno will operate similarly to the club’s former status with Whitecaps 2, which allows the senior team to send players down and sign them to MLS contracts when seen fit by the club.

Former MLS manager Frank Yallop serves as general manager for the new USL side, while Adam Smith has been named Fresno’s first head coach.