Chelsea FC vs AC Milan 03-08-2016
Chelsea FC 3:1 AC Milan (Friendly – International Champions Cup)
US Bank Stadium – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Another trip to Minneapolis, this time for a pre-season friendly between Chelsea FC and AC Milan, in the fairly meaningless International Champions Cup. This would also be the first event held at the brand new $1.016 billion US Bank Stadium, which will serve as the home of the NFL Minnesota Vikings. It replaced the Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome, which was a domed stadium built in 1982 and was in the news in several times after heavy snow fall caused parts of the inflated roof to collapse, with the latest incident being in the winter of 2010.
After that incident, the Metrodome was torn down and replaced by this new tax-payer funded 66,000 seat facility. Just finished, this International Champions Cup match between Chelsea FC and AC Milan was the first event and christened the stadium. Located in downtown Minneapolis, it was difficult to get to and parking was limited and expensive. $30 to park, and over an hour to get out of the parking after the game finished. There is metro station next to the stadium, but this was even more of a mess than the parking.
My partner and I arrived at the stadium about 45 minutes before kick-off. Getting in worked pretty smooth, considerably better than the game we went to in Chicago. My partner used the restroom, which was lacking toilet paper. I’d hope this is just a first game glitch, and not an attempt to encourage a new green attitude towards bathroom practices. We were sat in what was supposed to be the AC Milan fans, because as a Manchester United fan I would have broken into hives if I had sat amongst the Chelsea fans. Unfortunately, most of the section, and stadium, was decked out in Chelsea blue.
I went to get some overpriced food before kick-off at one of the many different concession stands. This one was by Andrew Zimmern, who does the Bizarre Foods show on the Food Network. His stall was selling mostly lamb dishes, but they went through 600 pounds of lamb before the game started and were reduced to selling fries, beer and soda. 2 fries and 2 sodas later, I was relieved of $23 and prepared for kickoff.
This was a very good game for a friendly, with Chelsea looking the better side though Eden Hazard didn’t start. Bertrand Traore opened the scoring with a quick reaction headed from a saved Victor Moses shot. AC Milan was embarrassing, with only Mbaye Niang able to leave the game with his head held high. Their young goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma may have played well for them last season, but he was horrific in this game. He was continually pressured by Diego Costa, and gave the ball away time after time. His defenders didn’t help him, constantly trying to play the ball out of the back and inviting Chelsea’s press before sending a hospital pass to the 17 year old goalkeeper.
Chelsea completely controlled the second half, with N’Golo Kante, Eden Hazard, Oscar, and Michy Batshuayo coming on. They completely blew Milan away, with Kante’s work in midfield allowing Oscar to create and score 2 goals.
It was an expensive experience, but overall enjoyable. I assume the stadium will get better with more use, so it’d probably be worth going back to. With this game, most of the friendliest in the US are over and I go back to chasing MLS and NASL matches, which are much cheaper but frequently a lower standard of play. The joys of football in America.