As the San Jose Earthquakes’ only native son, rookie Steven Beitashour is always a popular guy when it comes to friends and family looking for last-minute help with tickets.
But even he hasn’t been able to assist his loyal followers this week. Not with newly minted Champions League qualifiers Tottenham Hotspur in town for an exhibition match at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
“People are really excited,” Beitashour told MLSsoccer.com. “They’re calling me up, seeing if I can get any tickets for that game, too. The last time I read, there’s only 300 tickets left, so I’m like, ‘You guys have got to tell me early for those games.’"
Quakes fans aren’t the only ones excited about Spurs’ visit to the Bay Area. Even though it’s just a preseason workout for the English Premier League side and an exhibition prelude for the Quakes – who face the league-leading Los Angeles Galaxy five days later – ESPN has picked up the game for national broadcast.
“I think, especially with it being a televised game, that everyone’s excited about it and hopefully we can put on a good performance,” Quakes rookie Ike Opara told MLSsoccer.com. “Everyone wants to show well in a game like that. That game doesn’t come around too often for me and the guys. To put on a good performance for the club, for ourselves and for the MLS, that’d be very huge for everybody involved.”
Quakes coach Frank Yallop said that he planned on playing his starters for about half the game, although not necessarily all at once.
“I want to make sure that we get some experience for our younger guys,” Yallop said. “You never get a chance to do this, and I’d like to get some of the younger guys on. Maybe we’ll mix it up a little bit, because putting all the young guys on together, that’d be tough for them.”
Even though the match won’t count in the MLS standings, it’s not as though the scoreboard at Buck Shaw is going to be kept dark. And the Quakes, who fared well against a team of Spurs reserves during their preseason trip to London in February, want to see how they match up against a side stocked with more of Tottenham’s frontline players.
“It’s a game, and we want to win every game possible,” San Jose’s Arturo Alvarez said. “Every time we step on the field, we want to get three points, regardless. Obviously, that’s not a league game, but we want to go in with the mentality that it is and play well, work on the things we need to work on and get ready for the LA game.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @sjquakes