Chelsea were beaten by Charlotte FC in their most recent pre-season friendly.

Thomas Tuchel’s side did battle with the MLS outfit on their home patch, the Bank of America Stadium, and were eventually defeated in a penalty shootout.

American icon Christian Pulisic put Chelsea in front on the half hour mark, but were unable to extend their advantage.

That allowed Charlotte to grab a last-gasp equaliser from the penalty spot through Daniel Rios, who also scored a delicious Panenka versus Edouard Mendy in the shootout.

In the end, it was Conor Gallagher’s dreadful spot kick that allowed the hosts to secure a 5-3 victory in football’s equivalent of the lottery draw.

One man who did manage to find the back of the net in the shootout for Chelsea was Raheem Sterling and all in all, the £45 million signing from Manchester City was pretty impressive on debut.

The England international was introduced at half-time by Tuchel and looked very sharp throughout his cameo in the North Carolina heat.

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Operating primarily from the left of the attack, Sterling was a constant thorn in Charlotte’s side with his speed and directness, something his new manager touched on during the post-match press conference.

“I saw four accelerations in the second half I think and they all came from Raheem,” Tuchel told Football London.

The majority of Chelsea fans have also reacted positively to Sterling’s first performance wearing the club’s shirt, particularly those who have watched his impressive individual highlights from the defeat to Charlotte.

Check out the footage for yourself here…

Video: Sterling’s highlights vs Charlotte
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Fan reaction
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It’s early days, of course, but Sterling already looks as if he’ll be a fantastic addition to Chelsea’s squad for the 2022/23 season.

He adds a whole new dimension to the forward line with his blistering pace, while his ability to use acceleration to get past players is something that will prove be a huge asset to the Blues.

Chelsea’s next pre-season match sees them lock horns with Arsenal in the Florida Cup final on July 24th, where we could see Kalidou Koulibaly make his debut for Tuchel’s team.

Sterling will also be eager to get as many minutes under his belt as possible in that outing, as the new Premier League season is right around the corner – thankfully for us football fans.

Chelsea’s first match of the campaign sees them take on Frank Lampard’s Everton away from home, before a London derby versus Tottenham Hotspur on August 14th.

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