Arsenal's American Preseason Adventure drew to a close today with a 1-0 loss to New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey. Bradley Wright-Phillips, son of legendary Gunner Ian Wright and MLS' current top scorer, poked home a headed-down corner that Arsenal frankly didn't do much to defend two thirds of the way through the first half, and that was enough to see off an Arsenal side that are very much in preseason mode.
The first half saw Arsenal with a few good spells of possession and their strongest available XI on the pitch, but for the most part, the in-shape Red Bulls midfield, led by none other than Thierry Henry, enjoyed a lot of room to maneuver between Arsenal's lines and had a number of good moves break down only at the last minute. Wojciech Szczesny had to do well to deny The King's classic Henry far-post effort, and Aaron Ramsey saw a shot go just wide, but in the 32nd minute, Red Bulls' corner, taken by Henry, floated past a standing Carl Jenkinson to be headed down onto the foot of Wright-Phillips.
Zonal marking, eh? (sigh)
The second half saw large-scale changes for both sides, and Arsenal looked a little more in control, with Abou Diaby the standout man in midfield, working time and again with Kieran Gibbs to set Chuba Akpom loose. The striker had his chances, the best coming midway through the half as he was set free behind the defense only to scuff his shot into the arms of Luis Robles. Arsenal couldn't generate a ton of chances, though, in the end, from their possession, and the match fizzled out, the Gunners leaving New Jersey 1-0 losers.
There's not much meaning to take from the result; this was very much a case of a team in the middle of its season taking on a team still working off summer and/or coming back from the World Cup. The most important thing was to gain fitness without injury, and Arsenal succeeded in that primary objective. The Gunners now fly back to London to continue their preseason.