LA Galaxy 1 (1)
Tuesday 24th July 2012
Venue : Home Depot Centre
Tottenham Hotspur 1 (1)
Kick off 19:30 local time (03:30 UK time)
|Lopes 29||Bale 17|
|Crowd : ,||Weather : Evening - hot, humid|
|Referee : F. Bakazos (USA)||-|
|- kicked off and played towards the - end in the first half.|
|LA Galaxy :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
- Perk (Rowe
- De La Garza
Walker (Naughton 65)
Livermore (Huddlestone 74)
- Defoe (Kane 65)
|Manager : Bruce Arena||Manager : Andre Villas-Boas|
|Sponsor : Herbalife||Shirt sponsor : Aurasma|
|Kit Supplier : adidas||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
What was a useful work-out, the 1-1 draw with LA Galaxy was a half-paced affair with little passion, other than a couple of full-bloodied tackles and a could of good goals.
For all the US TV Commentator and his side kick (former Liverpool defender and not the sharpest tool in the box according to many an Anfield colleague) Steve Nicol tired to big up the MSL team, there would have been little to differentiate them from Stevenage ... and this is a side halfway through their season. Shorn of Beckham and Donovan, they were perhaps a little under full strength, but Spurs were in a similar situation, with players injured, refusing to travel or at the Olympics.
It was a reasonably strong starting XI, but Bassong at left back once more looked the weak link. Galaxy attacked from the start but it was soon evident that Spurs could make more incisive moves. Bale looked lively down the left, while Defoe looked to get the ball out of his feet to shoot at goal at every opportunity - bringing a diving save out of the Galaxy keeper on one occasion. While Bale was tormenting on the left wing, the home defence was having trouble with Andros Townsend, who ran incessantly at the left full back and also produced a curling shot that the LA goalie could make a Hollywood save from.
It took 17 minutes to get the scoring under way, with a move up the left ending with a cross in by Sigurdsson and Bale jumped to power an header past Perk in goal. It was a well-fashioned goal and one that saw the togetherness of the team out here, with them all celebrating together.
Unfortunately, the lead didn't last too long. With former Spurs captain Robbie Keane in the opposition line-up, he had a few chances, with an attempted chip over Cudicini floating wide, a low shot across the goal and another opening when played through on goal, but he took too much time to get the ball down and Kyle Walker raced back to knock it away from him.
From a corner that Spurs didn't clear, the ball was played back out to the left, where a clever pass from Marcelo Sarvas across the box found Hector Jiminez coming in behind Bale to slide the ball square across goal. Still up in attack, defender Junior Lopes stretched out a leg to power the ball home past Cudicini from eight yards out. It was slack defending and nobody had gone back with Lopes, with the spurs back four finding it difficult to come to terms with the trademark "high line" that AVB wants the side to play. Too often two defenders left the ball for each other or were not close enough to stop a LA forward go through.
Cudicini had a bit of a nightmare, with his footwork not being great, one time throwing the ball straight to a Galaxy forward on the edge of the box and flapping at corners. He did however, manage to reclaim some of his reputation with a low save to prevent Jiminez's header going in low to his right following a good dink to the far post.
Bale had a shot fly over following a good passing move and Defoe glanced a near post header straight at Perk from a Sigurdsson free-kick, when anywhere else and it would have been a goal. But this was after Rafael van der Vaart had left the field with a groin injury. He had been a peripheral figure, not leading the attack, but not playing in the hole either. His relationship with Defoe didn't seem to work and the little man had few opportunities because of it.
The second half was a tamer affair, with both sides making substitutions and Spurs lost Kyle Walker with what looked like a turned ankle as he tried to shepherd the ball out of play with Villareal in close attendance. Vertonghen and Cudicini were the only two Spurs players to play the 90 minutes and the team looked happier keeping the ball rather than creating goal-scoring chances. Defoe was put through and as he bore down on goal managed to put the ball just wide of the replacement keeper Rowe's right hand post, while a low ball pulled back from the left by Bale found Sigurdsson, but unlike at Stevenage, he pulled his shot wide. Bentley had a good shooting chance when the ball ran to him as Lennon's cross was half-blocked, but he scuffed it and was lucky to get a corner as it came off a LA defender.
Spurs should have been given a penalty when Bale rounded the keeper, only for him to get his legs caught up with Bale's and bring him down. Well-placed, the home ref failed to give Spurs a spot-kick and waved play on. A shocking decision that may have cost us the result, but in the end had no real bearing on the benefit of the game.
As for Galaxy, they tried to test Cudicini some more, but their efforts were off target and while it did give the defence a chance to try to organise themselves, there was more solidity with Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Vertonghen and Dawson in the back four. No doubt, things will improve before the season starts (I hope).
So, a few cobwebs shaken out of the system and Spurs move on to Portland to play Liverpool on Saturday. It won't be a first team Reds side, but then it will probably not be a full Spurs team, with injuries and the fact that they are nursing some players through at the moment.
It was a good enough practice, but LA Galaxy are not the level of opposition we are used to in the Premier League and the football they played might have been good enough for them to win the MLS title last season, but now they find themselves being out-passed by the Spurs youngsters who populated the white shirts by the end.
Hopefully, these games will give the players the opportunity to get used to each other and to take on board the new manager's ideas.
Sid E Netting
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