Mauricio Pochettino’s reign as Tottenham Hotspur manager kicked off with an enthralling 3-3 draw with MLS leaders Seattle Sounders in a preseason game at CenturyLink Field.
Two second half penalties from Roberto Soldado and Iago Falque saved a draw for Spurs after goals from Osvaldo Alonso and Tristan Bowen looked like it would win the game for the Sounders.
A first-half penalty from Gonzalo Pineda cancelled out Lewis Holtby’s early header, and Pochettino will be pleased with the desire from his players.
The first chance fell to Seattle as Marco Pappa should have done better with a left-footed shot that drifted wide, only 20 seconds into the game.
The game filtered out though, and Tottenham took the lead on the ten minute mark, when Holtby’s late run was met with a lofted pass by Harry Kane, and the German’s header flew over Stefan Frei and into the net.
Seattle should have been level only three minutes later, when ex Tottenham star Clint Dempsey’s diving header spun inches wide.
Kyle Naughton had a weak strike saved, before Dempsey played in Lamar Neagle but Brad Friedel stood tall to keep out the Sounders midfielder.
Pineda was next to test Friedel, but the American goalkeeper matched the shot from the Seattle man while Danny Rose should have done better up the other end with a weak left-footed strike.
Dempsey had a free-kick deflected over, and from the result corner, Michael Dawson was punished for climbing all over Chad Marshall and a penalty was given. Pineda stepped up and in Andrea Pirlo style, chipped the ball into the goal.
Right before half-time, Dempsey nearly put Seattle in front when his shot was cleared of the line by Rose but it only took nine minutes for a goal to come in the second half, and it was a special goal too.
Alonso picked up space in the midfield, and smashed a strike into the top corner from a full 30 yards to the delight of the Sounders faithful.
That lead did not last long though, as Spurs won a penalty in the 54th minute. Substitute Soldado found space behind the Seattle defence and was fouled from behind by Marshall. Soldado dusted himself down and slid the ball past Frei for 2-2.
Another substitute Eric Lamela had a shot saved by Frei after good work by Soldado, while Neagle curled over from a good position with a wasteful shot for Seattle.
They weren’t wasteful just after, as two substitutes combined to give Seattle a lead again. Sean Okoli beat the Spurs’ offside trap and squared the ball for Bowen, and the striker tapped in to make the score 3-2.
However, Tottenham hit back quickly again. A third penalty of the game was given only a minute after Bowen’s goal, and Falque, another Pochettino substitute, slammed the ball into the net to bring Spurs back level again.
Djimi Traore should have won the game for Seattle, as his last-minute volley bounced off the ground and agonizingly over, but a fantastic game ended all square.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Friedel; Naughton (Fredericks, 46), Dawson (Kaboul, 46), Fryers, Rose (Veljkovic, 46); Carroll, Capoue (Mason, 63); Holtby (Falque, 68), Townsend (Lamela, 46), Lennon (Ceballos, 46); Kane (Soldado, 46).
Subs not used: McGee, Walker, Eriksen, Sigurdsson.
Seattle Sounders (4-4-2): Frei (Ford, 78); Yedlin, Marshall (Traore, 63), Scott, Anibaba; Neagle (Bowen, 78), Alonso, Pineda (Azira, 90), Pappa (Kovar, 75); Martins (Cooper, 63), Dempsey (Okoli, 75).
Subs not used: Remick, Estrada, Barrett, Pereira, Weaver, Long.
Referee: Ted Unkel