Travelling across the States to the muggy
heat of the East Coast, Spurs entered the Home Depot stadium to play
their first game in the New York Challenge tournament against the New
York Red Bulls featuring their new signing, the cheating Gooner Thierry
While the game at San Jose was nothing
more than a friendly and a warm-up, this had an element of
competitiveness about it and the home crowd were getting all excited
ab9out the first showing by their new signing.
In truth, the match was a bit better than
the previous Spurs game, but the opposition once more lacked a degree of
quality than we are used to, so it was a little more gripping, but not
Tom Huddlestone warmed Coundoul's hands
(if they needed warming) in the first minute, with a 25 yard effort hit
low, but straight at the keeper. The home team showed they were
going to make a game of it, with a right wing cross that produced a
header that went wide and then, after a couple of ricochets off Spurs
players' legs, Henry was onto the ball 12 yards out, but Cudicini
smothered his shot. The former Gooner then played a one-two off
Walker's face and hit a shot well wide from 20 yards.
In the 13th minute, the Bulls should have
gone ahead, when a right wing cross found Seth Stammler at the far post
with an open goal in front of him. The NY midfielder managed to
scuff his shot into the goalmouth (sideways instead of forward) where
Kandji tried to take advantage of the chance, but Cudicini blocked his
effort and then Stammler followed in to kick it out for a goal kick.
It was a let off for Spurs, who almost hit back, when Ream brought down
Jenas centrally, about 25 yards out and Huddlestone hit a free kick that
was deflected over the top in the 16th minute.
Gareth Bale's pace was troubling the Red
Bulls defence and one run ended with a cross that went between Kranjcar
and Keane, then the Spurs captain was played through the middle, but his
legs could not get him to the ball quick enough and his weak touch went
through to the goalie. In the 23rd minute, Spurs had a good chance
when a long corner was played back by Kranjcar to Jenas, whose first
time shot from 20 yards was rising all the time.
Three minutes later, the home side took
the lead. A ball was played in low form the left wing and arriving
at the near post, Henry managed to get ahead of Corluka and slide the
ball across Cudicini into the other side of the goal to make it 1-0.
In response, Tottenham stepped up the
pace a bit and Modric tried to play Keane through, but the ball came
back off his heels to Jenas, who hit it first time, but wide and then
just before the half hour, the ball was played from right to left, where
Bale crossed to Keane. The Irishman's header went into the six
yard box towards Jenas, but the keeper beat him to the ball. Keane
was also involved in the 33rd minute, when he put Modric through on the
left side of the box and as the keeper came out to him, took it around
him, but when his cross was played into the area, it was headed away at
the near post. The same happened to Bale's cross after Hud's inch
perfect pass over the full back picked the Welshman out.
Right on half-time, Hud once more
produced an incisive pass, putting Keane through one-on-one with Ream,
but he failed to get past the central defender.
With Henry getting Modric's shirt as they
went off for half-time, it looked like neither would be returning, but
the Croatian was out for the second half, but the French handball player
stayed in the locker room (as I believe the locals say). Spurs
brought on Adel Taarabt (wearing the number 11 shirt !!) for Corluka and
Townsend for Naughton. This left the side playing more or
less the same 4-4-1-1 formation. The Bulls changed three players
at the break and one was the Canadian keeper Sutton coming on, for what
proved to be a challenging 45 minutes.
New York started well, with Lindpere
shooting over in the first couple of minutes, but Spurs got moving and
started to create more openings. Five minutes in, Hutton's right
wing cross found Kranjcar, but his volley was into the ground, which
made it an easy stop for Sutton. There was a spell of five minutes
when Tottenham were pushed back into their own third and Bulls had three
shots, but when they broke out, Bale gave Keane a shooting opportunity,
which was blocked, then Kranjcar hit a 20 yarder that was saved.
It appeared that a goal was coming and
from Townsend's corner, Tchani was back defending and got in his
keeper's way, flicking the ball onto the far post as Sutton came to
claim it, leaving Robbie Keane the simple task of volleying home for a
couple of yards out past the man on the goal line.
With the scores level, Kandji had a good
chance to restore the lead for the Red Bulls, but put a header over in
the 67th minute, with a shot flying over a couple of minutes after that
form another Bulls player.
Shortly after Danny Rose replaced Niko
Kranjcar and played at left back, freeing Bale to go into midfield,
Spurs went ahead. The Welshman chased down a high ball along the
left and substitute Jeremy Hall tried to head it back to his keeper, but
lacked sufficient weight on it and Bale was quick enough to stretch a
leg out to poke it past Sutton as he came out, although Sutton managed
to poke Bale in the eye as he did so. 72 minutes gone and 2-1 to
A couple of substitutions for each sides
took place and New York's Chinn almost made an immediate impact, after
Huddlestone almost reciprocated with a weak header and the Red Bulls man
was denied by Cudicini with 12 minutes left. Within a minute,
Kandji made a chance for Richards, who put it narrowly wide of the right
hand post and then with ten minutes remaining, Chinn came even closer,
when Ubiparipovic crossed for the other sub to head against the bar.
The remainder of the game was
non-eventful and the final whistle sounded on a 2-1 Spurs win, with
little to comment on other than it was a good work-out and they go into
the match against Sporting Lisbon at the weekend with a chance of
winning the tournament. A good way to get a winning habit going,
but Harry Redknapp's main aim will be to get the team sharpened up and
home without too many more injuries.