Colorado Rapids lost at home against Arsenal, 0-3 in a friendly match which opened Gunner’s preseason. The game was marked by an 18-year old James Olayinka who scored his first goal in senior’s competition and notched an assist too.
English powerhouse decided to start its preparations for the upcoming season in the USA, and they chose Colorado Rapids to be their first opponents. The Rapids will be the only MLS club to face the Gunners at their USA tour.
In the match played at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, the fans saw Arsenal’s youth outplaying the home team. Unai Emery’s starting lineup was made mostly of talented youngsters who were eager to prove their value, and earn the spot in the first team. It is why they played with everything they’ve got, giving the maximum against the American side.
James Olayinka was the star of the match. After only 13 minutes of play, Olayinka assisted to Bukayo Saka in the box, for the opening goal of the contest.
The teenager himself beat Clint Irwin in the 29th minute with a vicious kick from the outside of the box. The ball ended in the upper right corner of Rapids’ goal forcing the crowd to applaud the young guy.
Olayinka's screamer against Colorado. pic.twitter.com/A7BKcbfZe3
— The Arsenal Vibe (@vibrsnal) July 16, 2019
“I just picked the ball up on the edge of the area, and when I looked up, I saw the keeper on the other side,” said Olayinka. “I took a shot, made sure it was on target, and luckily it went in.”
That was it until the halftime, and when everybody expected the equally efficient second half, teams slowed down. Arsenal managed to score once more, through Gabriel Martinelli in the 61st minute.
The guests from London had 69% of the ball in their possession, and that can tell you a lot about what happened on the field.
However, the hosts had their chances. When looking at the number of shots on goal Colorado was better than Arsenal, having fired 6 shots on target, one more than the rival. Arsenal’s goalkeeper Matt Macey had an excellent night, finishing with 5 saves.
After the match the interim head coach of the Rapids, Conor Casey didn’t have any complaints about his team, because he is aware of the difference in quality between the two sides. Casey was more focused on the fact that his guys had the opportunity to play against such a great opponent, and was thrilled for the fans, who saw one of the most popular clubs on the globe.
“First of all, what a great night in the stadium. It was an unbelievable atmosphere, and I’m so happy the fans were able to experience a night like this. It was also great for our players as well, being able to have a sixteen-year-old and seventeen year old compete against Arsenal, and some of the USL guys.”
The Rapids had an awful start in the MLS. With just two points in 11 matches, they recorded the worst ever start of the championship. But after that, the team responded and posted 5 victories, 3 draws and only one loss in the next nine contests.
As for the Gunners, they are heading to Los Angeles after this. The next opponent of Emery’s team is the German giant, Bayern Munich. It is the start of the International Cup of Champions for them, and there is no doubt that the fans are going to enjoy that spectacle.