Arsenal started its pre-season tour of the United States on a high in Los Angeles, with Nigerian duo James Olayinka and Bukayo Saka scoring in the 3-0 win over Major League Soccer club, Colorado Rapids, which is also owned by the Gunners’ owner, Stan Kroenke.
Olayinka and Saka started the match along with new signing Gabriel Martinelli, with 18-year-old Olayinka scoring the goal of the game while Martinelli also shone on his debut for the Gunners at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Monday night.
Wearing the new Adidas kit launched at the start of July, Arsenal got off to a quick start with Saka putting the Gunners ahead after 13 minutes with a chip over the Colorado goalkeeper, escorting the ball into goal to prevent the valiant efforts of a defender to make a clearance.
Olayinka, who is of Nigerian descent like Saka, added Arsenal’s second on the half-hour mark, pouncing on a loose pass in midfield before running towards the Colorado box and unleashing an unstoppable drive past the goalkeeper into the roof of the net.
Afterwards, Olayinka told Arsenal TV it was a great feeling to score the goal, adding that he was very happy to have scored it.
Just look at James Olayinka's face! ?
❤️ A special night for our @ArsenalAcademy lad
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) July 16, 2019
Martinelli, who was guilty of missing a glaring chance to open the scoring after being set up in the box by Saka, made up for it by scoring the third goal just after the hour mark, directing the ball from a cross beyond the opposition keeper with his chest.
While the teenage Brazilian was lively during the encounter, Saka was arguably the best performer of all while Olayinka showed glimpses of his quality from midfield.
Arsenal head coach Unai Emery gave the club’s youngsters a good run of minutes for Arsenal’s first pre-season outing while the more established stars such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette were brought on for the closing stages of the match.
At the end of the match, Emery said: The first match was good to use different young players, to give them chances to show their quality, commitment to work and to be with the idea to help the team.”
The Spanish boss added: “It was the best for us today. Some moments were for the young players, this was one of those moments. The atmosphere here was perfect, a lot of Arsenal supporters and we had a good day here.”
Next up for Arsenal is a friendly match with German Bundesliga champions, Bayern Munich, on July 18 at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles which is home of another MLS club, LA Galaxy.