Toronto FC hosted Tottenham Hotspur in front of a capacity crowd at BMO Field in a midweek fixture Wednesday, with the English side winning 3-2.
Although, it was just a friendly match, both teams fielded strong lineups with Jermain Defoe and Gilberto in the lineup for Toronto, and Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela, and Christian Eriksen on the pitch for Spurs. The teams promised to put a strong product on the pitch, and they delivered as the game was played at a fairly quick pace, and delivered moments of excitement for fans to cheer about.
The opening minutes of the match belonged to the visitors as Tottenham dominated possession and had a several chances on net. Toronto FC's backup keeper, Chris Konopka, got his first start of the campaign for Toronto, and he was kept busy right up until halftime, as Tottenham was eager to show their talents in a foreign land.
It may only be preseason, but it didn't take long for Tottenham to find their groove, as Erik Lamela made it 1-0 in the 16th minute. The Argentine was able to sneak one past Konopka, as he put his shot in the bottom right corner of the net. On Tuesday, Lamela mentioned that he had suffered from several injuries last season, but was hoping to breakout in the Premier League this year, and on Wednesday he demonstrated his abilities. Lamela was brilliant for Roma two seasons ago, and could be a massive part of Tottenham's plans going forward if he continues to play like he did against Toronto.
Lamela wasn't content with just the one goal though, as he made it 2-0 in the 40th minute. Toronto left the speedy midfielder wide open, and he made them pay as he buried it past Konopka. The game would go into the break with the home side down 2-0 and Spurs' fans excited at what a healthy Lamela can bring to their team.
The second half kicked off with both teams making a plethora of changes. Toronto FC take on Sporting KC in a massive Eastern Conference showdown Saturday night, and did not want to risk losing any key players. Defoe will be suspended for the match, so Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen took no chances with his other attacking designated player, Gilberto, and ensured he came off after the first 45 minutes.
Much like in the first half of the match, where Tottenham controlled 67 percent of the possession, Toronto found it difficult to even get a touch of the ball. The game was controlled by Tottenham throughout, and Wednesday night was a clear indicator as to how the team plans on playing this season. Very intense, quick paced and they like to play from the back.
Despite Spurs' dominance throughout the opening 60 minutes, Toronto FC managed to pull one back in the 65th, as second half substitute Andrew Wiedeman was able to find the back of the net. The goal not only sparked the crowd at BMO Field, but the team on the pitch as well. It would be another second half substitute, Jordan Hamilton, who would tie the game at 2-2 in the 73rd minute.
Hamilton's goal sent the crowd into a frenzy, in a moment that the youngster will never forget. At only 18 years of age, Hamilton was able to find the equalizer for the Reds. Hamilton has been on loan with USL Pro club Wilmington Hammerheads since the beginning of May, and was only recalled for the friendly. The young striker has a bright future ahead of him, and he showed why.
It wasn't meant to be for Toronto on Wednesday night though, with Andros Townsend scoring the winning goal in the 85th minute. He placed a lovely strike into the top corner of the net to silence the hometown crowd. The final whistle would blow with the Premier League side up 3-2 in a great contest that the sold-out crowd seemed to thoroughly enjoy.
Tottenham travel to Chicago for their next preseason friendly against the Fire on Saturday night. It'll be their third match against Major League Soccer in a week span, as they drew the Seattle Sounders 3-3 last Saturday.
Toronto FC: Konopka, Morgan, Henry, Orr, Hall, Oduro, Warner, Bekker, Lovitz, Defoe, Gilberto
Tottenham: Fridel, Naughton, Kaboul, Veljkovic, Davies, Capoue, Mason, Eriksen, Soldado, Lamela, Lennon