There isn’t enough Red Bull on the planet to give New York the energy needed to beat Chelsea at Stamford. How will the Blues respond to the New Jersey heat though?
The Blues head to the Garden State amidst an ongoing heat wave to face the New York Red Bulls in an International Champions Cup showdown.
Momentum certainly isn’t on the side of the New Jersey-based New York club coming off a disheartening ICC loss on penalties to Philadelphia Union after 120 minutes in the swampy Florida weather just a few days ago.
On the other hand, Chelsea has yet to play a single match since their 1-0 June victory over Sydney FC in a post-season friendly.
While it would be silly to imagine Jose Mourinho allowing his Chelsea players to get rusty with the Premier League just around the corner, a matchup against an overachieving MLS defense in the suffocating humidity of New Jersey isn’t exactly the kind of tuneup game that his club probably had in mind as they head into a brand new season and try to defend their Premier League crown.
The Red Bulls may be an MLS outfit but they’re certainly no slouches. The club has the second-best defense in the MLS Eastern Conference and the third-best point differential in the entire league.
Though the Red Bulls are expected to be without scoring machine Bradley Wright-Phillips, center Forward Mike Grella and midfielder Lloyd Sam are nothing to sneeze at, with the pair combining for 12 goals in 20 appearances this season.
Bottom line – Chelsea face a challenge in New Jersey and need to play the game smart in order to win and avoid any slip-ups before the Premier League starts.
Chelsea are expected to hand a debut to new goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who signed from Stoke City for £8m recently.
Prediction: Chelsea 2 – 0 New York Red Bulls
Date: Thursday, July 23 (UK) [ Wednesday, July 22 (USA) ]
Time: 1 a.m. BST [ 8 p.m. EST ]
Location: Red Bull Arena, Harrison, New Jersey