A late strike from Mason Mount gave Chelsea a narrow 2-1 victory over Mexican side Club America on Saturday night in the first match of their pre-season tour.
Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel fielded a fairly strong starting lineup at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, featuring Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz.
It was Ziyech who went close early on, forcing a good save from veteran goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa with a dipping free kick inside ten minutes.
Kenedy had the keeper scrambling again midway through the half, but his bending left-footed strike swerved just wide from the angle. A minute later, Club America full-back Mauricio Reyes – who was bizarrely wearing number 206 – had an opening but dragged his low shot narrowly past the post.
Conor Gallagher created Chelsea‘s best opportunity of the half just before the half-hour mark, surging forward before releasing Kai Havertz, but in on goal the German lifted his finish over the bar.
Five minutes before half-time, Silva drew an excellent reaction save from substitute goalkeeper Oscar Francisco Jimenez with a header from a Ziyech free kick.
Chelsea rung the changes at the break and began to have a bit more joy in attacking positions. After Christian Pulisic and Jorginho had forced saves, Michy Batshuayi fired just over from the edge of the box.
The Blues took the lead ten minutes into the second period. Jorginho’s clipped pass found Reece James on the right and the full-back’s cut-back reached Timo Werner, who finished at the second attempt from close range after Batshuayi had inadvertently blocked his initial effort.
Chelsea weren’t ahead for long though, as James played a no-look backpass into his own net five minutes later, with substitute goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli horribly out of position.
Pulisic spurned an excellent opportunity to restore the lead with just under 20 minutes to go, but he cannoned a header over the bar after being picked out by Emerson’s pinpoint cross.
With Chelsea struggling to create any clear openings, it took something special to win the match. Receiving the ball on the edge of the area with eight minutes remaining, Mount skipped clear of a challenge before bending a wonderful strike right into the corner of the net from 25 yards out.
Club America didn’t have a response and Emerson almost doubled the lead, but his late half-volley zipped just wide of the post.