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My time at The Dallas Cup by Ray Lo
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]

My time at The Dallas Cup 2010
by Spurs Odyssey reporter, Ray Lo

I thought that I would just reminisce about my trip to the Dallas Cup to follow the Spurs youth team. I have already posted match reports so will just fill in some of the gaps.

Spurs were invited to this long running tournament for the second time having finished as runners-up in the Academy league last season. The tournament increased the number of teams from 12 to 16 this year and included three national U-20 sides. The main site is in the town of Frisco at the Pizza Hut Park stadium, home of FC Dallas. Games were played mainly on the adjoining football pitches and at Richland College in Dallas with the local cable TV showing matches played at the stadium.

The rules allowed for a squad of 22 players under 20 years of age but our Academy coaches only submitted a squad of 18 players drawn from this year's U-18 side which they thought was the limit. They had to make four changes to the group as John Bostock and Dean Parrett were called into Harry's squad; Harry Kane was called up for England U-17 duty, and Paul McBride suffered an injury. Callum Tapping was added to the squad along with two U-16's, Jack Barthram and Jack Munns, who initially just went for the ride. Also included was young Aussie trialist Massimo Luongo.

It was a young squad for the tournament with only Cruzeiro of Brazil being younger. We were drawn in group 3 with the Japan U-20 side, local side Dallas Texans and Tigres from Mexico.

As only one team would qualify for the next round and they had to stay for the whole eight days of the tournament, up to two friendly games would be arranged for the other teams.

As you know I arrived too late on Sunday 28th March to see Spurs' first game of this tournament as well as the following game involving the other English Premier League side Chelsea, because I stayed for the Portsmouth game at the Lane.

I applied for a press pass as I was intending to post reports on the games we played and I was surprised when they gave me one. It meant that I had to take things seriously. I have to say that the press box was high above the pitch and not the greatest place to view games from. I did watch the USA national side play the Mexico side before returning to Dallas to find my hotel for a long overdue sleep.

On Monday (29.03.10)I went to Richland College to watch Spurs' second game on which I have already reported. The game was played on a dry pitch in very sunny conditions. Because of injuries the two lads that were not expected to play had to come on and did okay. Japan were strong in the second half but only scored due a mistake from Butcher who was the most experienced player and who had been playing very well. The draw meant that Japan were better placed to win the group.

I returned later to watch the other two sides in the group and while not greatly impressed by Tigres I knew that we were unlikely to beat them by more than the margin by which Japan would beat the Texans. This was a view shared by one of the coaching staff I spoke to before the last group match, who also said that they would not play any friendlies before they returned home.

Having beaten Tigres more comfortably than I expected on wednesday the news later that day that Japan had lost as well almost had me jumping for joy.

After the Spurs game I stayed on to watch Chelsea play leaders Monterrey needing to win by two goals to finish above their opponents and go through. They took an early lead but failed to get a second. Monterrey had their coach sent off and I reluctantly had to get the officials to have him removed from the spectators area as he was still coaching his side. On the next pitch the Mexico U-20 side were playing Vancouver Whitecaps having already qualified to meet Monterrey in the semi's. They had a narrow 1-0 victory for a 100% record. I heard the news that we were through to the semi-final when I went to the stadium that evening to watch the last two group matches.

Having being told the good news the last game of the evening between Chivas of Mexico and Cruzeiro from Brazil became important as the winner would play Spurs in the semi-final on Friday. Both sides had won their opening two fixutres but Cruzeiro had to win as Chivas had the better goal difference. Cruzeiro won it in added time having looked the better side for most of the game.

On Thursday I took a trip into Dallas and visited Deeley Plaza where Kennedy was shot. The day before a singer had stripped off doing a video for her new record without telling anybody. This caused a stir in the local media as it was in front of tourists with young children. I still don't know if she was arrested. No doubt it is on U-Tube already.

I managed to have a word with the coaching staff before the match on Friday and they had mixed feelings about the game, due to the injuries and lack of players but promised to have a go. It was a close game with Spurs going out due to two errors and a missed penalty. The two sides were well matched. It is just a pity we did not have a stronger squad out there. In the second match the club side beat the national side which to me was no great suprise but the American reporters were impressed.

I arranged to watch the Sunderland game on saturday morning at a place called the Londoner in Addison and will not dwell on it and left as soon as I could because I heard the commentary from the gooners' game in the background with the late goal. It was worse than seeing the youth team lose the evening before.

I went to the Final match on Sunday at the stadium where the caterers splashed out for us in the press box. Cruzeiro were the best side in the tournament and thankfully came out on top. It was a pity that the game finished with a mass brawl on the pitch and the referee ending the game a few minutes early. No doubt U-Tube will have video of the disgraceful scenes. I saw some photos on the Dallas Cup site and I am glad that Spurs were not involved.

I flew back on Monday having had a good time. The organisers treated me well and I was not stopped for speeding once! The U-18's are back to League action on Saturday when they play Coventry away before I am off to see us play Portsmouth. Having started this with Portsmouth it seems a good place to end.

Ray

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