Thursday, March 27, 2014

Is Arsenal Aware Of Their Rapids Partnership?

Today Arsenal FC announced their first trip to the U.S. since MLS started (their last trip was to Miami in 1989).  Its great to see them come over and support their partner club here in Colorado, especially since Stan Kroneke is the primary owner of Arsenal.

Oh wait, they aren't coming over to support their partner MLS club.  They're flying to NY to play a different MLS club, the New York Red Bulls.  Tim Hinchey confirmed on Twitter that they aren't coming to Denver:
won't happen this trip as they are coming in to NY then straight back. Working on the future.
Needless to say, some Rapids fans are seeing this as a bit of a slap to the face by Arsenal.  Apparently an unaffiliated MLS club is more important than their partner club with shared ownership.  Yes, Arsenal club-legend Thierry Henry, who is likely in his final season before retirement, plays for NY and this is probably a way to send him off by his old club.  Its not unreasonable for Rapids fans though to have the expectation that this link between Arsenal and Colorado would result in a game though, considering the amount that it has been built up over the years.

I'm not putting this on the Rapids FO.  I'm sure with the World Cup schedule this summer Arsenal decide to make the quick hop to NY after the WC, play for Henry, and head home.  But its a little ridiculous that KSE couldn't at least make sure they went through the effort of mentioning the Rapids in the announcement and committing to a game in the future.  I think that had they said something like "We want to take this opportunity to honor one of our club legends and time does not allow us to also travel to Denver.  We value our relationship with the Rapids though and we'd like to announce that in the summer of 2015 we are planning to train in Denver and play a friendly against the Rapids" everyone would understand that.

Given Arsenal's track record though (first U.S. trip in 25 years, a manager who has said he doesn't like the idea of preseason tours of the U.S.) this appears to be a quick in and out with another MLS club while completely ignoring their actual partner club, leaving it up to Hinchey to explain the situation to the fans of the Rapids.  The odds of them coming back in the near future seem remote, so Arsenal's only game in the U.S. against a MLS team in their history won't be against the team that shares a partnership or an owner.  Poor form Gunners and poor form KSE.  You could, and should, have done better instead of ignoring your "other" soccer team.

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