Chelsea struggled to shake off the cobwebs in their first outing of pre-season but thankfully they boast a stellar match-winner in the shape of Mason Mount.
Mexican side Club America offered stiff opposition for the Blues in Las Vegas and, in the early stages at least, Thomas Tuchel’s lethargic players struggled to even string a few passes together.
Gradually, they got their act together. Timo Werner opened the scoring 10 minutes into the second-half after Tuchel swapped his entire starting XI at the break.
Chelsea won their pre-season game against Club America 2-1 in Las Vegas on Saturday
It was Timo Werner who opened the scoring Chelsea shortly after the half-time break
But even then, there was embarrassment as an innocuous-looking backpass from Reece James somehow found its way past Marcus Bettinelli and into his own net.
Mount would spare the defender’s blushes late on, however, with a sumptuous curled finish into the far corner after skipping past challenges on the edge of the box.
Tuchel’s thinking with his starting XI was those who’d returned back for pre-season earliest after the June internationals.
It saw Thiago Silva captain the side flanked by Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr, with Conor Gallagher partnering the forgotten Ross Barkley in midfield, with the equally forgotten Kenedy serving as a wing-back.
The game came too soon for summer arrivals Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly, who’ll feature later in the pre-season schedule.
Werner celebrates with Ethan Ampadu after handing Chelsea the lead in Las Vegas
Mason Mount scored the winner for Chelsea from the corner of the box in the 83rd minute
Chelsea, First Half (3-4-3): Arrizabalaga; Chalobah, Thiago Silva (c), Sarr; Kenedy, Barkley, Gallagher, Chilwell; Ziyech, Havertz, Hudson-Odoi
Chelsea, Second Half (3-4-3): Bettinelli; Azpilicueta (c), Ampadu, Emerson; James, Mount, Jorginho, Alonso; Pulisic, Batshuayi, Werner
Scorers: Werner 55; Mount 83
Booked: Gallagher 35; Werner 90+2
Club America (4-5-1): Ochoa (Jimenez 33); J. Sanchez, Valdez, Caceres, Reyes; Aqunio, Dos Santos, Damm, Fidalgo, Layun; Martin (Valdes 62)
Substitutes: Araujo, Fuentes, Lara, Campos, S. Martinez, Moreno, R. Sanchez, Zendejas, R. Martinez, Rodriguez
Scorer: James (OG) 60
Booked: Damm 3; Aqunio 27
With the roof mercifully closed in 40C heat at the impressive Allegiant Stadium, Chelsea nonetheless struggled to create a great deal in the first-half.
Hakim Ziyech did see a low free-kick from just outside the box pushed away by Club America’s veteran 37-year-old keeper Guillermo Ochoa.
In fairness to Chelsea, their opponents are already three games into the Mexican league season and their superior fitness levels showed.
Kenedy did flash a shot wide of the far post, before Kai Havertz fired over. Thiago Silva drew a stop from substitute keeper Oscar Jimenez after touching on an in swinging free-kick from Ziyech.
It was not until Tuchel made the decision to call for the cavalry at half-time, bringing on Werner, Christian Pulisic, Marcos Alonso, Michy Batshuayi, Jorginho, James, Emerson, Mount, Cesar Azpilicueta, Ethan Ampadu and Marcus Bettinelli, that Chelsea started to perform.
The changes allowed Chelsea to step up the intensity and their best move of the match delivered Werner’s opener.
Jorginho picked out James on the right and he controlled on his chest before cutting the ball back to the penalty spot, where Werner scored at the second attempt.
However, it didn’t last long as James’ perfectly straightforward back-pass from the corner of the box caught out Chelsea goalkeeper, Bettinelli.
It could be argued that James should have simply played the ball forward down the touchline rather than going back, but the keeper’s positioning was atrocious.
Club America did get on the scoresheet after Reece James (not pictured above) scored an own goal in the second half of the game
Midfielder Ross Barkley carries the ball forward as Chelsea search for more goals
Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta challenges Club America forward Henry Martin for the ball
However, James worked hard to try and redeem himself by connecting nicely with Mount down the flank. A series of passes between the pair saw Chelsea work their way up to the Club America box but little came of it.
The Chelsea defender did, however, play a cross field ball to Marcos Alonso – who took the ball down and shipped it on to Mount on the edge of the area.
The England midfielder got the ball under control and went for goal from the edge of the box. Safe to say he was successful and it was a stunning finish.
Chelsea now head on to play MLS side Charlotte FC in their next pre-season outing next week.
Relive the action with Sportsmail’s live blog for the pre-season clash between Chelsea and Club America.
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