Pochettino’s First Game As Tottenham Manager Ends In Draw


Mauricio Pochettino’s first game as Tottenham manager ended in a 3 – 3 draw against Seattle Sounders. It was the opening game of their 3-match tour of North America.

Seattle Sounders 3 Tottenham Hotspur 3 (Friendly)

Scorers: Holtby, Soldado (pen), Falque (pen)

Team: Friedel, Naughton, Dawson, Fryers, Rose, Carroll, Holtby, Capoue, Townsend, Kane, Lennon

Subs: McGee, Fredericks, Kaboul, Veljkovic, Walker, Carroll, Ceballos, Eriksen, Falque, Lamela, Mason, Soldado

Gylfi Sigurdsson was a late withdrawal from the team as the Press Association reported that Swansea’s Ben Davies was about to have his Tottenham medical in Seattle. Could Sigurdsson’s withdrawal be connected to the proposed move of Davies to Spurs with the Icelandic international to move in the opposite direction? Tom Carroll came into the team.

For Mauricio Pochettino’s first game as Tottenham manager, his selection had the feel of a team of squad players being given the opportunity to impress their new manager. Even after Sigurdsson’s withdrawal the team included a number of players who have been linked with possible moves away from White Hart Lane this summer, namely captain Michael Dawson and Kyle Naughton.

The Seattle Sounders team included the former Tottenham player, Clint Dempsey who moved to Seattle last summer and captained the US team which progressed to the last-16 in the World Cup Finals in Brazil.

The Tottenham manager is looking to the future saying in his pre-match interview,

"It’s the 1st game and for the moment it’s not about results but to improve, learn our philosophy and start to show it on the pitch."

Tottenham manager, Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham on their third tour to the US in five years found Seattle who are at the top of the Western Conference in the MLS, tough opponents. In their mid-season, Sounders showed the good form, fitness and confidence which has been with them this season while for Spurs it was their first match after just two weeks of pre-season training with their World Cup players still to return.

Xander Baily Moment

The match kicked off with a memorable moment for 18-year-old Xander Bailey who had signed for Seattle on a one game contract as part of the ‘Take A Wish Foundation’. Xander who is fighting cystic fibrosis, had always dreamed of becoming a professional footballer and the Seattle Sounders made his dream come true. He took the kick-off with Dempsey and was allowed to take the ball forward though the wide open Tottenham defence and shoot at Brad Friedel. He then went off to a standing ovation.

In a competitive match played at a high tempo Sounders pressed Spurs quickly and made it difficult for them to play out of defence. Spurs frequently played themselves into difficulty with poor passing.

Goal: Spurs unexpectedly went ahead after 11 minutes when they broke quickly. Tom Carroll played the ball forward to Aaron Lennon on the left of the box. His flick back fell to Harry Kane who played a measured chip into the box where Lewis Holtby had got between the two defenders to head the ball past the goalkeeper.

Then followed a catalogue of missed chances for Seattle, many caused by Tottenham conceding possession as they attempted to play out from the back. Spurs survived with some good fortune, off-side decisions, poor finishing by Sounders, a save by Brad Friedel and some last-ditch defending. The best opportunity for the home team came when Dempsey rose in front of Kyle Naughton to head the ball across goal and past the post

Goal: Sounders drew level in the 33rd minute when a challenge by Michael Dawson at a corner produced a penalty which Pineda scored with confidence. As Friedel dived to his right, Pineda chipped it down the centre, just past the goalkeeper’s trailing foot.

Sounders looked set to go ahead 6 minutes later but Dempsey’s effort was cleared off the line by a desperate clearance from Danny Rose.

Second Half

Level at the interval, Tottenham made seven changes for the second half.

Team: Friedel, Fredericks, Kaboul, Veljkovic, Fryers, Capoue (Mason), Carroll, Holtby (Falque), Lamela, Ceballos, Soldado

In the early moments of the second half Christian Ceballos looked lively for Spurs but then their defensive failings caught up with them again when they struggled to clear the ball after a run by the former Newcastle striker, Martins.

Goal: Spurs lost possession just outside their area and Alonso fired in a great shot from 25 yards which beat Friedel, going in off the underside of the bar in the 48th minute.

Goal: Spurs managed to draw level seven minutes later when they were awarded a penalty. Roberto Soldado was brought down as he went into the area getting between his marker and the ball. He took the penalty himself, coolly rolling the ball into the net as the goalkeeper dived in the opposite direction.

The second half team managed to retain possession better and looked a little more comfortable in defence as Pochettino made further changes, Ryan Mason replacing Etienne Capoue in the 63rd minute. Eril Lamela got forward from a central position and saw a weak shot from a tight angle gathered easily by the goalkeeper. Yago Falque replaced Lewis Holtby with 20 minutes to play. Tottenham had more control in their play and made some excursions forward with a cross by Ryan Fredericks being flicked on by Soldado and headed over by Falque.

More from Match Reports

Goal: Seattle were a constant threat and two minutes later went ahead when the two substitutes they had just introduced combined on the break with Bowen tapping home from close range following a cross from their left after 78 minutes.

Goal: Spurs were back on level terms immediately when Falque took the ball into the area and won a penalty for handball in the 80th minute. He took the spot kick himself and beat the substitute goalkeeper who went the right way and managed to get a touch on the ball.

The game ended all square and was entertaining and competitive throughout. In the final minutes, the officials had to calm everyone down when Soldado and a defender became involved in pushing and shoving which looked like turning into something more serious as other became involved.

Tottenham will be satisfied to have avoided defeat against a team who were well organised and caused them considerable problems in defence. This was a much tougher workout for Spurs than they would usually have in their first pre-season match in England against a non-League team or a side from the lower divisions.

It was Mauricio Pochettino’s first game as Tottenham manager and he now  knows the task ahead of him as he tries to prepare his team for the opening game against West Ham in four weeks time.