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Arsenal vs. Colorado Rapids Preview: The Kroenke Bowl

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Preseason officially kicks off in Denver.

Arsenal Pre-Season Tour of the United States Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

It’s finally here, the day you’ve all been waiting for. The long international summer break is over, and Arsenal kick off a new year as they start on the road, looking for redemption after a brutal end to the 2018/19 campaign.

Okay, it’s just preseason, the full squad isn’t taking part and it’s against the Colorado Rapids. But it’s finally some action. Away from the transfer rumors and endless social media banter, actual soccer, played by Arsenal. Better yet it’s the first ever Kroenke Bowl. The beloved owner of both Arsenal and the Rapids.

And this truly is the Kroenke Bowl. In addition to owning both clubs, he owns the stadium the match will be played at, DICK’s Sporting Goods Park, and the TV provider, Altitude. Arsenal are just getting use to life under full ownership of Kroenke, but for Colorado it’s a familiar place. Here’s a quick look at the Rapids and the mediocrity they’ve come to embody in MLS.

Houston Dynamo v Colorado Rapids Photo by Bart Young/Getty Images

Meet Stan’s other team, the Colorado Rapids

Formed in 1996, the Rapids weren’t purchased by Kroenke until 2004. After a few seasons failing to quality for the playoffs, Colorado won MLS Cup in 2010. Seriously, a Stan-owned team lifted the league trophy. It seems weird now to consider any Rapids team being able to win MLS, but in retrospect it makes Arsenal’s current Premier League plight seem slightly more plausible.

In the past five seasons however, Colorado has failed to make the playoffs four times. This season they currently sit 11th (out of 12) in the Western Conference, with just five wins from 20 matches and a -9 goal difference. The club have been playing better at home recently, winning four of their last five, including a win over league leaders LAFC.

The Rapids just played away to Portland on Saturday, coming back to earn a 2-2 draw and they host NYCFC next Saturday. So expect heavy rotation on both sides. The most familiar face to Arsenal fans who don’t follow MLS will be former USMNT and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard, who is playing in his final season having announced his retirement earlier this year.

Arsenal: 2019/20 Edition

The club named the 29-player traveling squad, missing Laurent Koscielny for this friendly and the upcoming trio of International Champions Cup matches. The game comes as a welcome distraction from the delays and set backs the club has suffered in the transfer market in recent weeks. But there are plenty of things to get excited about for this match and the preseason in general:

- The return of Reiss Nelson back after a successful loan spell in the Bundesliga. How much his attacking pace on the right improve the Arsenal offense?

- The debut of the club’s only signing thus far this summer - Gabriel Martinelli.

- The chance to see a slew of Academy and recently promoted prospects like Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe, Joe Willock, Dominic Thompson, Tyreece John-Jules, Zech Medley and Bukayo Saka.

- We get a first look at what formation(s) Unai Emery use and the general fitness of the squad at the start of preseason.

Who knows we might even see Arsenal Twitter discussing the positive play of an Academy product or an amazing goal rather than more dwelling on the lack of funds. Arsenal is back, enjoy it.

Arsenal Pre-Season Tour of the United States Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

WHAT:

Arsenal at Colorado Rapids

Preseason

WHERE:

DICK’s Sporting Goods Park, Denver, Colorado

WHEN:

Monday, July 15, 2019

9 PM ET/ 6 PM PT / 1 AM BT

HOW:

UK: Premier Sports

Denver Area: Altitude & the AltitudeNow app

Official Audio: Arsenal.com

Worldwide info: livesoccer.tv