COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (July 15, 2019) – Arsenal Football Club opened their 2019-2020 preseason tour in America with a win. James Olayinka shined, with a goal and assist in the first half. Colorado Rapids played mostly a reserve side with several Colorado Springs Switchbacks players getting some playing side. It showed with the final score being 3-0.
Stan Kronke Derby: James Olayinka shines in Arsenal win at Colorado
As expected for a friendly between an MLS team in midseason and English club in preseason, both sides started mostly reserves. Just one regular starter, Kellyn Acosta, started and wore the captain’s armband for Colorado. The rest of the lineup featured a few bench players and mostly reserves. The Gunners started a reserve team save for center back Calum Chambers.
The visitors opened the scoring in the 13th minute. Bukoya Saka times his run through the gap perfectly and James Olayinka found him in stride. Rapids keeper Clint Irwin came off his line and but the deflected shot got past him and Axel Sjoberg to cross the line.
Olayinka made it 2-0 in the 30th minute. Arsenal were buzzing in the final third when Olayinka intercepted a clearance, ran into the goal, and shot over everyone and into the top far corner.
Arsenal were clearly the better side in the first half with Niki Jackson and Cole Bassett getting some half chances for Colorado.
The teams made several substitutions in the second half and the match became more direct. Fewer chances were created.
Arsenal put the match away in the 61st minute. Dominic Thompson made a run down the flank, beat his marker, and crossed the ball into the box. Gabriel Martinelli angled his chest to deflect the ball into the upper 90 of the goal to make it 3-0.
Both sides rotated the squad further with the poster boys for Arsenal subbing in. They traded chances with Acosta getting a chance on a direct set piece in the 89th minute. The match ended 3-0.
Kronke Derby: This was the first every meeting between the two sides owned by American real estate billionaire Stan Kronke. While both franchises have had gripes with ownership for financial backing, Kronke did attend the match and there was a good atmosphere at the stadium from both fanbases.
Arsenal reserves show skill: James Olayinka led the way for the Arsenal Starting XI. The youngster showed his skill on the ball with others. As the first team rotated in, Arsenal continued to play well.
Rapids Homegrown Bucket List: This was a big night for the Colorado players, especially the teenager homegrowns who will one day tell their grandchildren they played against Arsenal. It was an especially exciting night for midfielder Cole Bassett who’s grown up as a Gooner.