HARRISON, N.J. — The New York Red Bulls trotted out a team mostly made of academy call-ups today, and they defeated the reigning Premier League champions 4-2.
Coming off a 120 minute loss to the Philadelphia Union in the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday, Red Bulls’ coach Jesse Marsch gave his academy youngsters massive first-team experience playing against Chelsea, and those youngsters scored four goals on the Premier League’s best defense.
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Chelsea lead 1-0 at halftime, but an offensive explosion in the second half saw the Blues preseason tour get off to a shaky start at Red Bull Arena.
After spending the last two seasons out on loan, Victor Moses looked like a man trying to prove himself to Jose Mourinho, constantly involved in the Chelsea attack. Moses nearly opened the scoring early in the match, making a quick cut past his defender before having his shot stopped with a strong kick-save from Red Bulls’ goalkeeper Kyle Reynish.
Throughout the first half Chelsea looked most dangerous on the counter-attack, and in the 26th minute the Blues capitalized. Oscar took the ball down the right flank and crossed in to a wide-open Loic Remy, who took a touch and calmly finished to give Chelsea a 1-0 lead.
Remy had another golden opportunity to put Chelsea up by two, as Bertrand Traore drew Reynish out of goal and found the striker all alone five yards out. But the cross hit Remy in the thigh and went over the bar as the Blues headed into halftime just a goal ahead.
At the half, Jose Mourinho made plenty of substitutions, putting in the likes of Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, John Terry and Nemanja Matic. Asmir Begovic also found his way onto the pitch, as the former Stoke City goalkeeper made his debut in Chelsea blue.
Despite putting on some of the world’s best talent, it was the Red Bulls who got off to a quick start in the second half. John Terry played a poor back pass to Begovic, who had to rush out of his net to try and collect the ball. But Franklin Castellanos was quicker than the sliding Begovic, and passed it into an open net to level the score at one in the 51st minute.
After the goal the Red Bulls found new life, and jumped out to an improbable two-goal lead. In the 69th minute 16-year-old Tyler Adams found himself unmarked in the box, rising to put a header past Begovic. Four minutes later, Sean Davis cleaned up a rebound and all of a sudden it was 3-1 in favor of New York.
The scoring didn’t stop, as just seconds later it was the Premier League Player of the Year Eden Hazard slotting home from the top of the box to cut New York’s lead to one.
When it looked like the Blues were going to make a comeback, Sean Davis silenced the traveling support with his second of the night in the 77th minute, with the home fans going absolutely wild.
The final whistle blew with a final score of 4-2 in favor of the Red Bulls, as Jose Mourinho and Chelsea have quite a bit to do before the Premier League kicks off in August.