European champion Chelsea FC was preparing for the first match on its four-game tour of the United States, a friendly at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday against Seattle Sounders FC.
“We’re hoping to get fitness,” Chelsea defender Gary Cahill said. “We’re still in preparation for the (English Premier League season, which) starts in the middle of August. So preparation in regard to getting back playing, getting back sharp, getting fitness back in the next couple of weeks.”
During 2011-12, Chelsea balanced the disappointment of a sixth-place finish in the EPL against championships in the FA Cup and Champions League.
“Last year was strange,” Cahill said. “The first half of the season obviously didn’t go to plan. But the second half was fantastic, and winning two cups by the end of the season was amazing. So we have to push on from that. It’s nice to be involved in all the competitions like (Chelsea) was. Obviously, we hope to compete more in the Premier League this season.”
The work toward that goal begins in Seattle, followed by friendlies against Paris Saint-Germain at Yankee Stadium in New York on Sunday, the MLS All-Stars in Chester, Pa., on July 25, and AC Milan in Miami on July 28.
“I think it’s good,” Cahill said. “Obviously, we get to see a lot of the U.S. The facilities are amazing, so that’s good for us. And we’re playing some big games over here, which will be important. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of fans watching the games, which is good as well. It gives us time to get away together as a group. And obviously the new players that have signed (have time) to bond with the lads that are already here.”
Five players who made it beyond the group stage of Euro 2012 – Ashley Cole, John Terry, Florent Malouda, Raul Meireles and Fernando Torres – are expected to join the club later in the tour.
Newer and younger players hope that time gets them a chance to catch the eye of coach Roberto Di Matteo.
“Hopefully, I can make my mark and impress Robbie,” said 19-year-old midfielder Josh McEachran “They brought in a few new players, a few young players who have done well in foreign countries. They look really good, so I’m looking forward to working with them.”
Chelsea FC will hold a public training session Tuesday evening at CenturyLink Field. Stadium gates open at 6 p.m., and the workout is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. Parking in the North Lot is $12.
Not so friendly?
Since joining Major League Soccer in 2009, the Seattle Sounders are 2-4 in international friendlies they’ve hosted, and they have been outscored 16-7:
Opponent / Date / Result
Chelsea FC / July 18, 2009 / L, 2-0
FC Barcelona / Aug. 5, 2009 / L, 4-0
Boca Juniors / May 26, 2010 / W, 3-0
Celtic FC / July 18, 2010 / L, 2-1
Chivas de Guadalajara / Oct. 12, 2010 / W, 3-1
Manchester United / July 20, 2011 / L, 7-0