Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid doesn’t see Seattle’s 3-3 draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday as any indication of parity between Major League Soccer and the English Premier League.
But he liked a lot of what he saw.
“The main thing I think our guys and our teams are always interested in is that they respect what we can do as well, and that we can play,” Schmid said. “I thought our possession in the first half was very good — at times I thought it was much better than theirs. But then against the run of play, they were very clinical. So what did we take away from it? We take away the fact that we can possess the ball against a team like that, that we’ve got to be a little better on our finishing for sure. But on this given day we can compete.”
Schmid saw it only as a bonus that all that was accomplished while entertaining the announced crowd of 55,349 at CenturyLink Field, while not suffering any injuries, and while preparing his roster for its return to MLS play against the Los Angeles Galaxy on July 28.
“We wanted to make sure we got minutes, we kept out rhythm, kept playing, it was good for (forwards Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins) to get some time together in the first half,” he said. “So in terms of preparing for L.A. it was good. We got the minutes that we needed for the starters and were able to maintain our fitness.”
The match was the first of the EPL preseason for Tottenham, and coach Mauricio Pochettino pointed that out and more.
“The conditions to play is very difficult: 1 p.m., and warm and in different (artificial surface) field and a very good (opponent),” he said. “We are comforted with the performance because for us it was just one friendly for us.”
The game was free-flowing throughout, with both teams taking and losing leads.
Tottenham opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Lewis Holtby got his head onto a cross from Harry Kane, and looped it over Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei.
Seattle got on the board in the 33rd minute, after Tottenham captain Michael Dawson was whistled for a foul on Chad Marshall in the penalty area. Gonzalo Pineda converted the equalizing penalty kick, sending a little chip down the middle while keeper Brad Friedel dived right.
The Sounders took their first lead early in the second half, when Osvaldo Alonso sent a shot from 30 yards skimming under the crossbar.
“I’m very, very happy for that,” he said. “But I’m excited for the team today. We showed character.”
Tottenham evened things again when Roberto Soldado nailed a penalty kick after a foul by Marshall.
Seattle reclaimed the lead in the 79th minute as Tristan Bowen ran up to a cross from rookie Sean Okoli and finished from close range.
“I saw an open net,” Bowen said. “I just (ran) to get in front of the goal and gave the defender a little nudge, and that created a little bit of space for me. And luckily (Friedel) didn’t get down to that ball … and all I had to do was tap it in.”
Tottenham salvaged the draw with another penalty kick. This time Iago Falque scored after a hand ball in the box by DeAndre Yedlin.
“When we come on these tours, a lot of times we don’t know what to expect,” Friedel said. “One thing was for certain when we came to Seattle, we knew we were going to expect a good atmosphere and playing against the best team in the MLS right now. Very tough game for us. This was our first one, our first 90 minutes of the entire preseason, so it was always going to be hard. You want a hard test in preseason, and I think, especially in the first half, Seattle showed us why they’re at the top of the league.”