The San Jose Earthquakes can be happy about the scoreless draw in their international friendly against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday afternoon.
In front of a packed house, the Quakes stood up to a mighty English Premier League team and put forth a solid performance.
“I thought we did well,” said left winger Bobby Convey, who had a standout performance in the first half. “Tottenham’s a big team in the world. Everyone got up for the game, everyone played well. I like how we held the ball. We possessed the ball a lot and we just need to score a few goals."
The lack of scoring could partly be blamed on the 85-degree weather, which affected the game and, especially, the Tottenham players.
In the first half, Spurs showed the good offense that landed them a spot in the UEFA Champions League – Robbie Keane was flagged offside on a goal and a sent another chance just wide – but the heat began taking a toll on the North London club and San Jose started to control the game after that.
“It was different to what we’re used to, for sure,” said Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp of the warm weather. “The opposition made us work. They werw a very good team. They passed the ball very well, with good movement, I thought they looked very good team. I’m very impressed with them.”
San Jose missed some good chances of their own, with the clearest being a 35-yard blast from Ramiro Corrales that Spurs keeper Carlo Cudicini saved. But, despite his team’s inability to find the goal, San Jose head coach Frank Yallop was pleased with the result.
“If you’re not creating chances, then you have a problem,” he said. “What I liked about us today, we weren’t nervous, we weren’t edgy.”
The highlight of the day for the Quakes was definitely their passing game. They moved the ball well around the box and managed to work their way into the final 18 yards many times, but the final touch eluded them.
Even though their forwards weren’t able to break through against Spurs, the Quakes defense looked solid after some initial lapses. It took Bobby Burling and makeshift center back Jason Hernandez nearly half an hour to find their footing but, once they did, they formed an unbreakable barrier.
Undoubtedly, their performance against Tottenham will give the Quakes quite a boost ahead of their July 22 match against the league-leading Los Angeles Galaxy, and Yallop's men will be hoping to repeat the nice passing game and good defensive play they showed Saturday.
Although Eduardo, who was coming off a long injury layoff, is back on the DL for a few more weeks after suffering another setback, Ike Opara should return. The defender was kept out of the match as a precaution, but will likely play against the Galaxy.
“Obviously, LA is one of the best teams in the league right now,” said Convey. “If we can play against [Tottenham], I don’t see why we shouldn’t be able to play against LA. We should come out and do the same thing: Press high, possess the ball. I think we’ve got some guys in good positions now and everyone is back healthy."