Editorial (July 28, 2019) – Several Colorado Rapids homegrowns got a chance to play significant minutes in the club’s friendly against Arsenal FC earlier this month. Cole Bassett and Sebastian Anderson both started the game, with Anderson getting minutes against the stars, including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Despite being teenage homegrowns in MLS, they didn’t look out of place.
Colorado Rapids Homegrowns Keep up in Arsenal Friendly
To get a few technicalities out of the way, Arsenal are very much in preseason. This was their first match of the the 2019-2020 season. Other than Calum Chambers, the Starting XI was all reserve and youth players. The expected starters didn’t see the field until late in the second half.
Arsenal won the match 3-0, with not many offensive threats from the Rapids. The damage was done prior to the big stars seeing the field. All that said, the Colorado Rapids homegrowns had decent games. Yes, the Rapids lost, but none of the goals were directly their fault.
“There’s a lot of little things I’ll reflect on, things I did well, things I didn’t do well,” Anderson said after the game. “It was pretty similar to be fair. They have a lot of quality, but were playing some of their younger guys.”
“Even though they didn’t have all their top players in when I was in, it’s still a good test for me to see the guys at the U-23 level. It’s good to see what they bring to the game and how I stack up against them,” Bassett told Last Word on Soccer. “On the ball there’s not too much difference, but you can definitely tell that with every touch, there’s a purpose to it.”
Bassett and Anderson saw the field against academy and bench players for one of the best clubs in the English Premier League. And they didn’t look completely out of place. At times, they looked like they belonged. Yes, fitness and not having something on the line was a factor. The point is, they weren’t the worst players on the field who lost the game on their own.
“The pace of the play was a little bit slower just cause there was nothing on the line. You can tell the little differences when their first team guys come on to their academy kids with how fast they move the ball and the little spaces that they get into, whereas their other guys peal off, they’re not as dangerous,” said Bassett.
For these young players, the game and the opponent wasn’t too big for them. That’s a good first step on the way to becoming competent MLS starters, or maybe more.