The Rapids defeated Arsenal FC’s reserves 1-0 this morning to earn their first preseason win of the year.

The game was played in cold and windy conditions at Arsenal's training ground and kicked off at 4:30am MT. Forward Conor Casey tapped in a cross from Omar Cummings in the 52nd minute for game-winner, which was also the team's first goal from the run of play this spring. 

The match was the first of the year for Casey, Pablo Mastroeni, Colin Clark, and the newly-acquired Jeff Larentowicz  and Danny Earls.

Each team took advantage of the setting to observe many players in game conditions, with the Rapids using 21 players and Arsenal testing 22.

Although Colorado started slow and Arsenal were sharp early on, it was the Rapids who nearly scored in the game’s 19th minute. Casey stripped center back Luke Ayling and went one-on-one with the keeper, who saved the shot. The rebound fell to Omar Cummings, who played it back to Casey, but his second attempt went wide left.

Fifteen minutes later, it was Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens who stopped a one-on-one, smothering a shot from Arsenal’s Conor Henderson after a breakaway from 30 yards out.

The Rapids wasted little time attacking to start the second half. In the 48th, Cummings carried the ball down the left side and found Casey at the penalty spot. Casey fed Jamie Smith back on the left side, but his clever chip over the ‘keeper hit the top of the crossbar. 

The duo of Cummings and Casey made the next opportunity count. In the 52nd minute, Cummings again attacked down the left side, finding Casey in the middle of the box. The big forward calmly tucked the ball in the right side of the net to break the scoreless tie.
Arsenal substituted all 11 players at the hour mark.

Shortly after entering the match in the 70th minute, Rapids backup ‘keeper Steward Ceus helped preserve the shutout with a diving save.

The Rapids will train at Arsenal’s training centre for the next two days before playing the San Jose Earthquakes in a preseason match on Friday at Tottenham’s training ground.


Colorado Rapids: Matt Pickens (Steward Ceus 73), Kosuke Kimura (Rob Valentino 61), Drew Moor (Oscar Murillo 61), Julien Bauet (Mike Holody 61), Danny Earls, Wells Thompson (Colin Clark 75), Nick LaBrocca (Jeff Larentowicz 75), Pablo Mastroeni (Ross LaBauex 46), Jamie Smith (Andy Lorei 75), Conor Casey (Pat Noonan 61), Omar Cummings (Andre Apkan 61)

Arsenal FC: (First half): James Shea, Francis Coquelin, Tom Cruise, Emmanuel Frimpong, Luke Ayling, Ignasi Miquel, Nacer Barazite, Craig Eastmond, Luke Freeman, Sanchez Watt, Conor Henderson.

(60th Minute): Emmileas Martinez, Sam Byles, Cedric Evina, Nicholas Yennaris, Rhema Obed, Daniel Boateng, Jamie Edge, Oguzhan Ozyakup, Benik Afobe, Rhys Murphy, Chuks Aneke.