Chicago Fire 0-2 Spurs
Report from Toyota Park
27 July 2014|Tottenham Hotspur
We completed a successful pre-season tour of the US and Canada with a solid 2-0 victory over Chicago Fire at Toyota Park, thanks to goals in either half from Harry Kane and Aaron Lennon.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men are currently unbeaten in pre-season, having previously recorded a 3-3 draw with Seattle Sounders and a 3-2 win over Toronto FC.
As has become a common theme in the friendlies on this tour, we made a fast start and took the lead after just five minutes.
Lewis Holtby caught Fire captain Jeff Larentowicz in possession and found himself clean through on goal, before unselfishly teeing up the supporting Kane to slot home his first of pre-season.
However, there were few more clear-cut chances during the half, with both sides evenly matched and the main battle taking place in midfield.
The stand-out player was arguably Erik Lamela, following on from his two-goal performance against Toronto FC on Wednesday.
Twice within the space of four minutes around the half hour mark, he tested Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson with fierce shots from around the edge of the box.
The first effort was on the back of the move of the half, after the Argentinian skipped past two defenders and played a neat one-two with Andros Townsend before letting fly.
At the other end, Brad Friedel was only tested significantly once, by a superb 25 yard effort struck by Matt Watson on 25 minutes.
Other than that, Fire’s star player Mike Magee chipped onto the roof of the net and Larentowicz just failed to turn Harry Shipp’s free-kick goalwards.
Half-time saw a number of changes on both sides, with the Fire fielding an entirely new XI by the 55th minute – Grant Ward, on-loan from Spurs, being the last to be replaced.
One of our substitutes, Ben Davies, had the first meaningful shot of the half a minute later, getting forward into the box and latching onto Ryan Mason’s neat ball but blazing high and wide.
Moments later, an even better chance fell to Lennon after Christian Eriksen’s pass looped into the air off of a defender, but the winger could not get enough power on his volley to trouble sub goalkeeper Kyle Reynish.
At the other end, Dilly Duka linked up with Razvan Cocis on 65 minutes and went for the return ball, which was played too far in front of him and Friedel was able to gather.
The same pair linked up again shortly after, and this time Duka was able to test the American stopper with a shot from the edge of the box.
On 75 minutes, we were back on the attack, as Yago Falque played in Roberto Soldado, and defender Greg Cochrane did an extremely good job to block his goal-bound effort.
Likewise, straight down the other end, Milos Veljkovic got in the way of Matt Fondy’s attempt when the Fire striker capitalised on a defensive slip.
It took a moment of magic to round off the tour in style, when Soldado picked out the run of Lennon with a delightful ball over the top on 84 minutes, and the little man was brave to get there in front of giant defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado before skipping past Reynish and making it 2-0.
It could have been three just moments later when Eriksen was put clean through over the top, but Reynish was this time quicker off his line to block.
There was then some great defending from Bakary Soumare to stop Soldado’s deft header finding the net following Ryan Fredericks’ run and cross.
In stoppage time, Falque tested Reynish with a low shot while Michael Dawson did well to deny Fondy, as we now head back home ahead of further friendlies with Celtic and Schalke before the big opener.
Spurs (4-3-2-1): Friedel (McGee, 78); Walker (Naughton, 46), Dawson, Veljkovic (Fredericks, 80), Rose (Davies, 46); Capoue, Mason; Holtby (Falque, 64), Lamela (Eriksen, 46), Townsend (Lennon, 46); Kane (Soldado, 46). Unused subs: Kaboul, Ceballos.
Fire (4-4-2): Johnson (Reynish, 46); Palmer (Kinney, 46), Larentowicz (Soumare, 46), Ianni (Hurtado, 46), Segares (Cochrane, 46); Ward (Duka, 55), Ritter (Pause, 46), Watson (Cocis, 46 (Franco, 77)), Shipp (Alex, 46); Magee (Joya, 46), Amarikwa (Fondy, 46).