NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 28
Submitted by Norman Giller
It’s going to be a long season! Tottenham’s first warm-up match on their North American tour was accompanied by ridiculous assessments on Twitter and Facebook as supporters dived in with premature judgements.
What is it with the computer keyboard that it turns people into expert football coaches, better golfers than Rory McIlroy, faster drivers than Lewis Hamilton and more composed captains than Alastair Cook?
The BT-covered Spurs match against MLS side Seattle Sounders had barely started before the know-alls were querying Mauricio Pochettino’s first team selection, his tactics and the performance of his players. Goodness knows what it’s going to be like when the proper stuff starts on August 16.
For those who were not sleepless in Seattle and possibly missed the game, here is a quick summary of the match that ended in a 3-3 draw:
Spurs had to twice come from behind on the synthetic surface at the Century Link Field, where a crowd of 55,000 gave the game a buzzing atmosphere, and emphasised that soccer is really taking hold on the other side of the Pond.
Lewis Holtby, back from his loan spell at Fulham, gave Spurs a tenth minute lead with a neat header from an accurate Harry Kane cross. Seattle equalized on the half-hour, Seattle midfielder Gonzalo Pineda putting his penalty kick past Brad Friedel after Michael Dawson's clumsy tackle on Chad Marshall.
There was much criticism on line of Mauricio Pochettino's first selection, with people not taking into account that several obvious choices were unavailable.
The enthusiastic American crowd, swollen by a large contingent of Spurs followers, went wild three minutes into the second-half when Osvaldo Alonso fired Seattle into the lead with a thundering shot that crashed into the net off the underside of the bar.
Bobby Soldado equalized from the spot five minutes later with one of his beautifully weighted penalties before the Spurs defenders got themselves into a tangle, allowing Tristan Bowen to tap in Sean Okoli's cross with his first touch of the game.
Tottenham avoided defeat when Iago Falque, a loan player last season at Rayo Vallecano, scored the third penalty of the match nine minutes from the end after his shot had been handled by Sounders defender DeAndre Yeldin.
Former Spurs man Clint Dempsey, fresh from his World Cup exploits, played up front for the Sounders alongside ex-Newcastle and Inter Milan striker Obafemi Martins.
Pochettino, speaking confidently in English and picking his words carefully, said at the after-match press conference: “I’m happy as it was the first game of the tour. The conditions were difficult with warm temperatures and all the players did their best. This is the time to improve and learn, and I’m very pleased.”
Next stop for Tottenham is Toronto on Wednesday, and waiting to ambush them is our old friend Jermain Defoe, who has been wowing them in the MLS since the transfer few good Tottenham judges wanted to see.
Tottenham’s team in Seattle on Saturday, lining up in 4-2-3-1 formation:
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.
Scorers: Holtby, 10, Soldado (pen) 54, Falque (pen), 81.
My regular reader will know I am keeping count of the players the KnowItAlls on Twitter and Facebook say Mauricio Pochettino is planning to buy. Last week the count had reached 39.
It is now up to – wait for it – FORTY-TWO! Why oh why do so many people on the Internet turn gossip into fact?
Just two that I believe … left-back Ben Davies coming to White Hart Lane, and I understand that Spurs are serious about their interest in PSV winger Memphis Depay. But don’t believe it until he signs.
As I write Davies is winging his way to Canada to join up with his new Tottenham team-mates. Welcome Ben, Bhoyo! You are continuing a great Welsh tradition, following on from Lane Legends like Ron Burgess, Mike England, Gareth Bale and, of course, the golden oldie Cliff Jones.
It also looks as if Siggy Sigurdsson could be heading for Swansea, and it will be no surprise if Swans goalkeeper Michel Vorm join Spurs as understudy to Hugo Lloris. Wilfried Bony is another Swan who is making the pulse race at Tottenham.
Goodness, now I’m becoming one of the gossips.
Just one thing I can say for sure, there will NOT be 42 new players coming to the Lane!
THE GILLER TEASER
Each week here in my Spurs Odyssey home I test your knowledge of Tottenham. Last week I asked: Who was between the posts for Tottenham in all 42 League games in the 1977-78 season, and when Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa made their League debuts?
Most of you got it right: Barry Daines, who had the unenviable job of filling the large goalkeeping gloves of Big Pat Jennings. Barry has almost been airbrushed into history, but wise Spurs fans will know he did a good job for the club at a difficult time.
The first name chosen at random from the correct entries: Mary Butcher, of Plymouth, who wins a signed hard-back copy of Bill Nicholson Revisited.
This week’s teaser has a Canadian theme: Who was a key man in the 1960-61 Double squad and later moved to Toronto for the final games of his career and settled so well he became a Canadian citizen?
A signed Bill Nicholson Revisited book (one of the few remaining hardback versions) to the sender of the correct answer whose name is randomly drawn first. Email your answer please to firstname.lastname@example.org
The book is now available in paperback, with profits going to the Tottenham Tribute Trust: www.normangillerbooks.com
Thank you for joining me. COYS!
The "Giller Index" - listing all Norman's articles for Spurs Odyssey
· Read Beverley Smith's fan's-eye account of Spurs visit to Seattle
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