FOXBOROUGH — Chelsea FC and the Revolution will play six games this month. Most of those contests will be less of a mismatch, and also have more at stake, than the charity game, dubbed the Final Whistle on Hate, the teams played at Gillette Stadium Wednesday.
Chelsea, which concluded the Premier League season at Leicester City on Sunday, took a 3-0 victory over the Revolution in a festive atmosphere before a crowd of 27,329. The Blues, preparing for the Europa League final against Arsenal on May 29, demonstrated a smooth passing game in easily keeping the Revolution on the defensive. Ross Barkley scored twice and Olivier Giroud once as Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri played his starters for most of the match, and had to replace substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek (leg injury) midway through the second half.
“It was a big game but for a big cause,” Chelsea defender David Luiz said. “I think we were just trying to do our best inside the pitch and also get supporters to remind why you’re here, and you’re here to help everybody.”
As for Loftus-Cheek’s status, Luiz said: “I hope he’s [all right]. He’s in the best form of his career and we need him for the final.”
The Revolution were playing their second game under interim coach Mike Lapper, with newly hired coach/sporting director Bruce Arena in attendance.
“I think we’re all excited with what he’s going to bring to the table,” Revolution forward Diego Fagundez said of Arena. “And I think we all know what he’s got. He’s won so many MLS Cups. I think everyone’s excited to start working for him.”
The Revolution have lost plenty of times this season, but on this night, they had a chance to ease some of the tension, despite the result.
“Every game’s fun for us, and this was a special one,” Fagundez said. “You’re playing against one of the top clubs in the world. We go out there and we tried everything to compete with them and make it a show for everyone.”
Chelsea decided match early.
Barkley placed a shot just inside the right post after controlling a clearance from Jalil Anibaba off a Pedro cross in the third minute. Giroud headed in from point blank range of a Davide Zappacosta cross in the 29th minute, the sequence concluding a counterattack after the Revolution’s Juan Fernando Caicedo had a shot blocked by Luiz.
Many Revolution starters departed after that, resting for a visit to Montreal Saturday, though Scott Caldwell, Carles Gil, and Wilfried Zahibo went the distance.
In the second half, Chelsea began substituting, but Barkley remained in long enough to redirect a one-timer by Gonzalo Higuain off a Willian corner in the 62d minute.
“It was great experience,” Caldwell said. “They’re some of the best players in the world and one of the best teams, and this was for a great cause. So, I think everyone enjoyed the match. They put some good show on at times but I thought we did all right and it was a good game. They’re excellent players so, obviously, it was a challenging game and it was fun. I thought the fans were great cause, they were loud, and it was a good atmosphere. I know they were thrilled to see Chelsea play.”
Chelsea remained unbeaten in four visits to Massachusetts in the last 65 years. The Blues defeated an Eastern Seaboard All-Star team, 6-0, in Fall River in 1954; tied Eintracht Braunschweig, 3-3, at Manning Bowl in Lynn in 1967; and blanked AC Milan, 1-0, at Gillette in 2005.
CHELSEA FC 3, REVOLUTION 0
REVOLUTION: Matt Turner (Brad Knighton 30th, Cody Cropper 62d); Brandon Bye (Nico Firmino 30th), Andrew Farrell (Antonio Delamea 30th), Jalil Anibaba (Zach Heriveaux 30th), DeJuan Jones (Gabriel Somi 30th); Tajon Buchanan (Juan Agudelo), Scott Caldwell, Wilfried Zahibo, Carles Gil, Teal Bunbury (Cristian Penilla 46th); Juan Fernando Caicedo (Diego Fagundez 46th).
CHELSEA FC: Kepa Arrizabalaga (Willy Caballero 46th, Robert Green 88th); Davide Zappacosta (Reece James 78th), David Luiz (Cesar Azpilicueta 46th), Andreas Christensen, Marcos Alonso (Emerson Palmieri 46th); Ross Barkley (Chalobah 78th), Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic (Ruben Loftus-Cheek 46th, Conor Gallagher 69th), Pedro; Olivier Giroud (Gonzalo Higuain 46th), Eden Hazard (Willian 46th).
Referee: Nima Saghafi. Goals: Barkley 3rd, 62nd; Giroud 29th. Attendance: 27,329.
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at email@example.com