Toronto FC 2-3 Spurs
Report from BMO Field
24 July 2014|Tottenham Hotspur
Andros Townsend came off the bench to score the winner after Toronto FC had fought back from two goals down following a first half Erik Lamela double at BMO Field.
In our second game of our US and Canada Tour, new signing Ben Davies made his first appearance in a Spurs shirt from the start, while there were also maiden pre-season appearances for Christian Eriksen and Kyle Walker.
The opposition, meanwhile, were of course spearheaded and captained by former White Hart Lane favourite Jermain Defoe.
But the prolific striker had little say in a first half dominated by Spurs, with the attacking quartet of Lamela, Eriksen, Aaron Lennon and Roberto Soldado too hot to handle for the home defence.
They constantly pressed the back four and were nothing short of brilliant when in possession, finding space and creating a string of chances.
Lamela and Lennon both had good chances to open the scoring before the Argentinian claimed his first after 16 minutes.
Soldado dummied Lennon’s pass into the winger’s path, and his left foot finish slotted nicely into Chris Konopka’s far corner.
Soldado, Eriksen and Ryan Mason all put chances over the bar as Toronto struggled to get a foot-hold in the game, with Younes Kaboul and Milos Veljkovic solid at the back.
Five minutes from the break, Lamela added his second following a move that he started, playing into Lennon and making a fantastic run into the box that was picked out by Soldado. From there, the finish was emphatic, and the 2-0 lead looking comfortable.
Toronto would have been delighted not to see Lamela and the other three attacking players emerge for the second half, along with the rest of the Spurs team bar Brad Friedel, as Mauricio Pochettino made 10 changes, including Walker making his long-awaited return from injury.
The home side made their fair share at the break also, and the second half saw the two sides far more evenly matched than the first.
We were still knocking on the door during the first 15 minutes of the half though, with Quillan Roberts needing to be quick off his line to shut down Lewis Holtby after Walker’s through ball, and Harry Kane just failing to get the decisive touch on a delightful Danny Rose cross in front of goal.
At the other end, Kyle Bekker sent a powerful low shot just inches wide from 20 yards, and it took a fantastic last ditch challenge from Zeki Fryers to prevent Jonathan Osorio going clean through.
However, on 65 minutes, Toronto pulled one back when Daniel Lovitt unlocked the defence with a slide-rule pass and substitute Wiedeman sprung the offside trap and slotted home.
It certainly gave the hosts a spring in their step as Osorio tested Friedel from the edge of the box on the 70 minute mark, while Ceballos failed to force Roberts into a save with an effort from similar distance.
And Toronto’s marked improvement resulted in an equaliser on 73 minutes, as Bekker’s long ball was knocked down by Wiedeman for Hamilton to put home a first-time finish.
Our response was positive, however, as we showed the character to go looking for a winner, and it was Walker who came close on 79 minutes, latching onto Yago Falque’s pass before firing into the side-netting from inside the box.
But two minutes later, the right-back couldn’t prevent Ashtone Morgan getting past him and delivering a cross with which Hamilton should have done far better in front of goal.
Funnily enough, Townsend was also guilty of being wasteful at the other end moments later, when he could only find the hands of Roberts after a deflected Rose cross fell nicely at his feet 12 yards out.
But it was the England winger who found the winner five minutes from time, cutting in off the left and hitting a sweet right foot effort into the top corner after Holtby broke away on the counter attack.
Spurs first half (4-2-3-1): Friedel; Naughton, Kaboul, Veljkovic, Davies; Capoue, Mason; Eriksen, Lamela, Lennon; Soldado.
Spurs second half (4-2-3-1): Friedel; Walker, Dawson, Fryers, Rose; Carroll, Holtby; Townsend, Ceballos, Falque; Kane. Unused subs: McGee, Fredericks.
Toronto (4-1-3-2): Konopka (Roberts, 46); Hall, Orr (Hagglund, 46), Henry (Richter, 46), Morgan; Warner (Osorio, 46); Oduro (De Rosario, 46), Bekker, Lovitt; Gilberto (Wiedeman, 46), Defoe (Hamilton, 46). Unused subs: Bradley, Moore, Morrow.