RBNY (II), champions of England
Benjamin Poremski; July 22, 2015

New York Chelsea
Davis 2
07.22.15 · Friendly

Tonight's Metro vs Chelsea match was a grotesque anticlimax in which the defending champions of the Premier League met a side that, with the exception of a couple defenders returning from the Gold Cup, is in essence New York Red Bulls II, currently in sixth place in the United Soccer League's Eastern Conference.

With many of the most vocal Metro supporters absent, Red Bull Arena was an atmosphere-less tomb, an environment that may have reminded Chelsea's players of its Stamford Bridge home. Metro Lite came out in a 4-3-3, with Chris Tsonis playing ahead of Marius Obekop and Dan Bedoya up top, and a three-man midfield of Sean Davis, Leo Stolz, and Tyler Adams.

Chelsea's Victor Moses, moving freely in the attack, created an early chance, kicked aside by Kyle Reynish. By the 27th minute, Chelsea's strength and pressure yielded a goal, as Moses dispossessed Obekop and sprung Oscar with a deep pass down the right channel. A crossing pass to Loic Remy gave him a simple goal after two quick touches to disorient the Metro defenders.

The lead established, Chelsea settled into the soporific possession style, with Metro players chasing the ball like the suckers in a schoolyard bullying session. Five minutes after the goal, Moses found space down the right side and chipped Reynish, but the shot bounced safely off the far post. At the 40th minute, Roy Miller took his scheduled mid-match nap, allowing Obi Mikel to lash a cross into an unmarked Remy, who from five yards kneed the ball over the crossbar.

The substitution of Eden Hazard at the halftime break brought more chaos to the Metro back line. Hazard's runs created space for Diego Costa, who shot just high at the 48th minute. Franklin Castellanos found a great chance just minutes later, as substitute goalkeeper Asmir Begovic misplayed a cross from Stolz, but John Terry cleaned up the mess.

Terry created a disaster within seconds, however, playing a hospital ball back to Begovic. A charging Castellanos pounced, side-footing a shot into the goal to level the score at 1:1, shocking the Chelsea fans and bringing to life a small number of home supporters.

Their attack lacking crispness and intensity, Chelsea paid for their failure to score in the 69th minute. Pressuring every touch as the Blues tried to build possession for the back, Metro won possession. Tyler Adams stripped the ball from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and played a pass to Obekop, who sent the ball out to Castellanos. His cross found Adams streaking into the penalty area, and the youngster's far-post header put Metro into the lead.

The twenty minutes were wide open, as Chelsea abandoned its disciplined style. Finding space down the left flank in the 73rd minute, Castellanos centered a pass, and failure to clear the ball allowed Sean Davis to put Metro up 3:1. One minute later, Hazard, alone at the top of the penalty area on a free kick, brought Chelsea back to within one goal.

The scoring was not over. In the 77th minute, Colin Heffron, with a run down the right side of the Chelsea defense, cut the ball back. A misplayed clearance fell to Davis, whose second goal brought the lead back to two. Almost immediately, Chelsea attacked down the Metro right side, and Oscar's header was turned aside by substitute goalkeeper Santiago Castano.

Metro, fielding its reserve team, had beaten Premiership champions Chelsea by two clear goals in a meaningless friendly. Surely there will be a small plaque inscribed with the date, opponent and score, that will be placed in the dusty club trophy case to commemorate this event.

But to think of what could be if this useless match had never been scheduled, if the US Open Cup quarterfinal had been played on four days rest on a dry 75 degree night, instead of less than three days' rest on a steamy afternoon with temperatures in the 90s. With more matches played under Austrian ownership than under previous owners combined, perhaps the shorthand expression for such shortsighted, brand-first, soccer-second business decisions ought to be "That's so Red Bull..."

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