Arsenal start pre-season tour of USA with a win over Colorado Rapids

Arsenal's pre-season tour of the USA began with a convincing win but is shrouded in controversy since Laurent Koscielny had refused to travel with the team

Agence France-Presse July 16, 2019 14:48:06 IST
Arsenal start pre-season tour of USA with a win over Colorado Rapids
  • Arsenal began their pre-season tour of the USA with a 3-0 win over the Major League Soccer side Colorado Rapids

  • Arsenal fielded a mostly reserve side, giving opportunity to youngsters such as Bukayo Saka and James Olayinka who also scored for the Gunners

  • A group of influential Arsenal supporters' organisations had published a statement on Monday hitting out at Stan Kroenke's passive ownership

Los Angeles: Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli scored in his Arsenal debut on Monday as the English Premier League club launched their pre-season tour of the United States with a 3-0 friendly win over the Colorado Rapids.

Bukayo Saka and James Olayinka also scored for the Gunners, who cruised to the victory at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in suburban Denver. Martinelli, the 18-year-old forward signed from Ituano on 2 July, was given a surprise start in the attack by Unai Emery and sent an early chance wide.

Arsenal start preseason tour of USA with a win over Colorado Rapids

File photo Stan Kroenke. Reuters

Saka, 17, was an energetic presence and put Arsenal up 1-0 in the 13th minute as he collected a through-ball from Eddie Nketiah. Another teenager — 18-year-old Olayinka — doubled the score in the 29th, seizing a stray pass from the defence and firing it into the top left corner of the net.

Martinelli, having missed his early chance, capped the scoring in the 61st when he slotted home a cross from close range. The Rapids, in the midst of the Major League Soccer (MLS) season, fielded a mostly reserve side that featured several players from the lower-rung Colorado Springs Switchbacks.

Arsenal, too, started a reserve team as they begin their build-up to the Premier League season after again failing to secure a Champions League berth.

The tour hasn't started without controversy. Captain Laurent Koscielny refused to travel to the US, and a group of influential Arsenal supporters' organisations published a statement on Monday hitting out at Stan Kroenke's "passive ownership."

Under a hashtag 'WeCareDoYou', the statement decried a "soulless" atmosphere at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium and a lack of transfer strategy. Kroenke, who began investing in the club in 2007 through his company Kroenke Sports Enterprises and took full ownership in 2018, also owns the Rapids as well as the NFL's Los Angeles Rams.

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