Pre-season is usually a buzzing period for many clubs in Europe due to the return of many familiar faces who were out on loan previously. Over the years, this has also been the story at Chelsea, a club that has been notoriously good at producing young talents from its academy in Cobham and supplying them to various teams in Europe.
As the Blues have been on tour in the US having been invited to play the annual edition of the Florida Cup, the travelling squad included many returnees such as Michy Batshuayi, Emerson, Ethan Ampadu and Conor Gallagher.
This year’s edition of the tournament features the ‘Clash of Nations’ round where teams from opposing nations are pitted against one another, with PL, Liga MX and MLS teams all in the mix.
Both Batshuayi and Emerson started Chelsea’s latest fixture in the Florida Cup against Charlotte FC on Wednesday while the English duo of Ampadu and Gallagher came off the bench during the second half.
Out of the four loanees perhaps it was Gallagher that impressed the most last season, bagging 8 goals and 3 assists for Crystal Palace. Having been assured an important role at his parent club by Thomas Tuchel for the upcoming season, the midfielder would have been expecting to impress as he came off the bench with Chelsea leading 1-0.
However, as Charlotte FC equalised in stoppage time and the match headed into a penalty shootout at the Bank of America Stadium, it was none other than the former Palace player who cost Chelsea the game. His scuffed penalty was the only missed effort from the spot and was easily saved by the opposition goalkeeper to see the hosts win 5-3.
Neither goalkeeper stood any chance in the shootout thanks to some brilliant ball striking from both sets of players who stepped up to take the kicks. Even Chelsea’s new signing Raheem Sterling was on target on the night.
But Gallagher was perhaps a bit too keen to impress as it looks like the player attempted a Panenka flick that he did not catch correctly thereby sending the ball straight into the arms of substitute keeper Pablo Sisniega.
The Englishman was in total disbelief that he failed to convert from the spot while the Mexican keeper was able to find the funny side and was seen smiling after being gifted the chance to save.
In the past there have been some glaring penalty misses by players either through an unfortunate slip such as John Terry’s in the 2008 UCL final or sometimes caused by an excessive application of power such as Italian international Simone Zaza’s skied penalty against Germany during Euro 2016.
Gallagher’s miss would be a hard pill to swallow for the player as it was purely due to his failed technique at achieving a clear strike on the ball. Following the mishap on Wednesday, the player would be hoping to make amends during the Blues’ Florida Cup final fixture against Arsenal on Saturday.