Grimsby Town

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(Even) Young(er) Chelsea smashes Grimsby Town 7-1

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Chelsea battered League Two side Grimsby Town 7-1 on Wednesday, with Christian Pulisic going 90 minutes and registering an assist for the Blues at Stamford Bridge.

Michy Batshuayi had two goals and an assist, Pedro and Kurt Zouma a goal and an assist, while Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi make season-opening statements with goals. Ross Barkley also scored for Chelsea, while Matt Green was Grimsby Town’s scorer.

Pulisic was a relative veteran in a Starting XI with Marc Guehi, Billy Gilmour, Reece James, and Callum Hudson-Odoi. Longtime Blues heroes Pedro, Marcos Alonso, and Ross Barkley started, with Wily Caballero, Kurt Zouma, and Michy Batshuayi filling out the eleven.

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The subs were just as young, as 17-year-olds Faustino Anjorin and Ian Maatsen debuted for Frank Lampard.

The sequence that produced Chelsea’s opener started with a Pulisic shot blocked in the left of the box, but the Blues quickly regrouped and went through the right for Barkley to drill a low shot past Mariners goalkeeper James McKeown.

The second goal saw Pedro, Pulisic, and James pull off a one-touch clinic, with James taking the feed from the American to set up Batshuayi for 2-0.

But hold on: Green scored a wonderful goal when he out-raced Marcos Alonso to a flick. Green is 32 years old and was in the National League as recently as last season. He’s scored exactly one goal in 16 appearances above League Two level. Well, two, we guess!

Pulisic won a dangerous free kick by dribbling a pair of Mariners in the 28th, but Batshuayi just missed heading Hudson-Odoi’s chipped free kick inside the far post.

Zouma was at the heart of Chelsea’s third and fourth goals. He won a penalty for the Blues in the 42nd minute off a corner kick, and Pedro dispatched the third goal to the back of the net.

The center back then was at the back post to take care of a fine cross from James. 4-1.

In fact, Batshuayi and Pulisic were often living in the same zip code in search of goals.

James made it a deserving 5-1 with a beautiful strike in the 82nd minute, and Pulisic laid off to Batshuayi for Chelsea’s sixth.

Batshuayi then set up Hudson-Odoi for the feel-good moment of the match, the icing on the cake if you will, with a near post finish past McKeown.

Pulisic’s stats: 90 minutes, 52 touches, 1 key pass, 2 shots, 4-of-8 in ground duels, 1 of 1 in the air.

Pulisic darted in front of Batshuayi to dribble on goal and rip a shot just wide of the frame in the 66th. He was unable to score from a tight angle in the 72nd after a terrific run to meet a clever Barkley pass.

Overall, it wasn’t a great night on the whole for Pulisic who, like Ross Barkley seemed driven to take the bull by the horns to the point of excess. He was fouled twice and showed he wouldn’t be bullied by the physical Mariners.

MLS vet, US capped, Manchester United trained: Thorrington retires

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Four times capped by the United States in a career constantly shafted by injuries, midfielder John Thorrington has retired from playing and taken a job with the Major League Soccer Players Union.

Thorrington, 34, became the youngest American to sign for a Premier League club in 1997 when he linked up with Manchester United. He never played for the Red Devils before transferring to Bayer Leverkusen, where he also did not play.

He came back to England to score seven goals in 67 matches for Huddersfield Town, spending a short time with Grimsby Town before coming home to MLS in 2005. He would become a fixture for the Chicago Fire and also played for Vancouver and DC United, winning the U.S. Open Cup with Chicago in 2006 and DC this past season.

From MLSSoccer.com:

“John gave everything he had on every play on every team he ever played for,” D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen said in a statement. “It was a pleasure being around him for a short time in DC, and I wish him nothing but the best in his new role at the Players Union.”

He’ll be a special assistant to players union executive director Bob Foose.

“I’d like to thank my teammates, coaches, and the fans who have made this experience what it was,” Thorrington said in a statement. “I feel very blessed to have had the privilege of playing for 17 years, and I could not have done it, nor would I have enjoyed it as much, were it not for their support.

“Special thanks go to my wife Krista and my family, who have encouraged and inspired me through it all. I am grateful to the MLS Players Union and excited for this opportunity to help continue the development of the league in a new capacity.”

Thorrington started a match for the U.S. in the qualifying for the 2010 World Cup and appeared four times for his nation overall. He was born in South Africa.