Seattle 3-3 Spurs
Report from CenturyLink Field
Sat 19 July 2014, 23:11|Tottenham Hotspur
Our pre-season campaign got off to an entertaining start with a 3-3 draw against Seattle Sounders in the opening game of our Tour of the US & Canada.
The Sounders are having a great season in MLS and provided tough competition, with a side that included US World Cup heroes Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin, in front of a passionate crowd.
Lewis Holtby gave us a lead after 10 minutes before a Gonzalo Pineda penalty and Osvaldo Alonso thunderbolt either side of half-time gave the home side the upper hand.
But two Spurs penalties from substitutes Roberto Soldado and Yago Falque, either side of a Tristan Bowen tap-in, made for a lively second half.
Sounders made a bright start and went clean through on goal straight from kick-off - albeit, our midfield and defence purposely parted to let 18-year-old Xander Bailey in on Brad Friedel.
Bailey, who has cystic fibrosis, was given the chance to sign a two-day contract with his beloved Sounders thanks to Washington State’s ‘Make a Wish’ initiative, and walked out in front of an electric atmosphere at Century Link Field.
After taking kick-off with his hero, Dempsey, the youngster tested Friedel with a well-hit effort before leaving the field to a rapturous and heart-warming ovation from both sets of players and an audience of nearly 60,000.
But even once the more serious stuff got underway, Sounders were straight on the offensive with Marco Pappa shooting just wide of the near post within the first minute.
So it was arguably against the run of play when we took the lead. Tom Carroll’s neat ball over the top of the Sounders defence was knocked down by Aaron Lennon for Harry Kane to cross and Holtby to get in-between defenders to head beyond Stefan Frei.
However, from there it was all Sounders in the first half. Dempsey sent a header from Osvaldo Alonso’s cross inches wide just three minutes after the opener – and it was a sign of things to come.
Friedel was tested three times in the next six minutes, once by former Newcastle and Birmingham striker Obafemi Martins, and again by Lamar Neagle and Pineda, all of whom should have done better after some neat attacking play.
There was brief respite when Lennon laid in Danny Rose to get a shot on goal on 21 minutes before Sounders were given the chance to draw level 11 minutes later.
Michael Dawson was adjudged to have climbed over Chad Marshall at a corner, and Pineda stepped up to cheekily chip Friedel from the spot and make it 1-1.
We could have been behind before half-time when more neat interplay between front two Martins and Dempsey resulted in the former Spur knocking the ball past fellow countryman Friedel, only for Rose to get back and clear off the line.
The break saw a number of changes for Spurs, with Younes Kaboul, Erik Lamela and Soldado all entering the fray, as well as youngsters Ryan Fredericks, Milos Veljkovic and Cristian Ceballos.
Sounders, however, remained unchanged, and it seemed to work for them when we failed to clear our lines on 49 minutes and Alonso sent a thunderous 25-yard drive in off the underside of the bar.
However, our new introductions soon got up to speed, and it was Soldado who won his own penalty on 55 minutes, superbly controlling Etienne Capoue’s ball, getting in behind Marshall before being bundled over by the defender.
The Spanish striker’s spot kick was cooly slotted home in the Seattle heat, and when Lamela found himself in on goal after nice work from Holtby three minutes later, we could have been back in front, but the Argentinian couldn’t get the bouncing ball under control.
The winger did threaten again on 65 minutes, but the angle ended up being too challenging for him to get a meaningful shot away after more good work from Holtby and Soldado.
We were nearly made to pay when Neagle got above Fredericks at the other end two minutes later, only to head Yedlin’s cross over the bar.
The same player blazed over from inside the box before we went back on the offensive, with Soldado flicking on Fredericks’ right wing cross and Falque heading over at the back post on 77 minutes.
It marked an eventful few minutes for the young Spaniard, who then had to watch the home side go straight down the other end to go back in front. Substitute Sean Okoli sprung an offside trap down the left-hand side and slid across the face of goal for Bowen to touch home with his first touch after coming off the bench.
But Falque, on loan at Rayo Vallecano last season, soon redeemed himself by nutmegging Pineda and forcing a handball in the box out of Yedlin on 82 minutes. His penalty snuck just inside the post beyond substitute goalkeeper, Josh Ford.
It was another member of our Spanish contingent that could have won the game for us. Ceballos got in behind the defence with four minutes remaining, but powered his left foot shot straight at Ford.
Next up is Toronto FC on Wednesday, and a reunion with another former Spurs striker, Jermain Defoe, at BMO Field.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Friedel; Naughton (Fredericks, 46), Dawson (Kaboul, 46), Fryers, Rose (Veljkovic, 46); Carroll, Capoue (Mason, 63); Holtby (Falque, 68), Townsend (Lamela, 46), Lennon (Ceballos, 46); Kane (Soldado, 46). Subs not used: McGee, Walker, Eriksen, Sigurdsson.
Sounders (4-4-2): Frei (Ford, 78); Yedlin, Marshall (Traore, 63), Scott, Anibaba; Neagle (Bowen, 78), Alonso, Pineda (Azira, 90), Pappa (Kovar, 75); Martins (Cooper, 63), Dempsey (Okoli, 75). Subs not used: Remick, Estrada, Barrett, Pereira, Weaver, Long.