Defense? Who needs defense?
In a game that resembled the soccer equivalent of an And1 mixtape, Manchester City defeated Chelsea 5-3 at Yankee Stadium on Saturday evening.
The match, played in front of a nearly-packed house in the Bronx (official attendance was listed at 39,462), was exactly the kind of spectacle both clubs had to be hoping for.
While Manchester City made waves in American soccer circles this week with the announcement of New York City FC, it was Chelsea who had home-field advantage on the day. The Blues' edge among the crowd was clear as day, illustrating, perhaps, how far City still has to go in the NYC market.
The match was also the last for Chelsea's Rafa Benitez, with a report by Duncan Castles of Sulia saying that Jose Mourinho will be named as his replacement imminently. Many Chelsea fans will undoubtedly be pleased by the report, and in fact, several chants rained down from the stands in support of the self-proclaimed "Special One."
"Jose Mourinho... Jose Mourinho..." sing the Chelsea fans at Yankee Stadium.5/25/2013, 10:25:25 PM
In on-field action, the scoring began quickly after the opening whistle. Gareth Barry put the Citizens in front in the first five minutes after a Chelsea defensive blunder. Samir Nasri doubled the lead in the 29th minute, and the score stood 2-0 at the break.
The action really began to pick up in the second half, as Chelsea's Ramires scored just moments after play resumed. James Milner extended City's lead back to two in the 58th, before a frantic final 22 minutes featuring a whopping four goals.
Sam Tighe @stighefootball
The exhibition match between Chelsea and city is very entertaining. It's like they've been instructed not to defend to make it exciting5/25/2013, 10:58:18 PM
It was the goal in the 69th minute, in particular, that electrified the crowd. Fernando Torres displayed a lovely bit of skill in the box before setting up an open-netter for Ramires' second. Nasri responded moments later by chipping it over Petr Cech (who had come on at the half), but the goal of the night was the one to follow.
Juan Mata, whose entry in the 61st minute received the largest ovation of the night, struck a brilliant free kick off the bar and in.
But just two minutes later, in the 83rd, Edin Dzeko's long-range effort extended City's lead yet again in what was to be the last goal of the match.
When the final whistle blew, the crowd's thunderous roar of appreciation told the tale. It had been an immensely entertaining game, replete with attacking play and endless creativity. And while the stakes may have been low in this postseason exhibition, it's safe to say that both clubs made some fans at Yankee Stadium on the day. And isn't that really the point?