By: Erik Bartlett
Admit it, Earthquakes fans– you’ve had July 17 circled on your calendar since their “official” partners from North London announced that they would be making a preseason stop in the Bay Area. Here’s a brief preview of Saturdays fixture.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES VS. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
BUCK SHAW STADIUM, SANTA CLARA
4PM EST (1PST) LIVE ON ESPN, ESPN DEPORTES, ESPN3.COM
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: TOTTENHAM
Tottenham is coming off a tremendous 2009-10 season in the English Premier League, having placed fourth in the final standings—and with that, upcoming UEFA Champions League qualification matches and expectations that Spurs fans have for the club in 2010-11.
But make no mistake; the team that will be on the field on Saturday won’t carry the same vigor, strength, nor firepower that will be shown during their upcoming European campaign. Stars Jermain Defoe, Sebastian Bassong, Aaron Lennon, Heurelho Gomes and Benoit Assu-Ekotto are resting at home in London after taking part in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
2010 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR US TOUR ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS: Carlo Cudicini (ITA), David Button, Oscar Jansson (SWE)
DEFENDERS: Gareth Bale (WAL), Calum Butcher, Vedran Corluka (CRO), Alan Hutton (SCT), Younes Kaboul (FRA), Kyle Naughton, Adam Smith, Kyle Walker
MIDFIELDERS: Tom Huddlestone, Jermaine Jenas, Niko Kranjcar (CRO), Luka Modric (CRO), Andros Townsend
FORWARDS: Robbie Keane (IRE), Ryan Mason, Jonathan Obika, Roman Pavlyuchenko (RUS)
However, there is some intriguing storylines with the roster showing up on Saturday. Welsh international Garreth Bale is one of the best young up and coming players in the EPL, and particularly stood out in the second half of last season. Additionally, Robbie Keane is back with Spurs after a loan spell with Celtic, and Roman Pavlyuchenko remains with the squad despite being long-rumored to be leaving White Hart Lane this summer.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: SAN JOSE
For the Earthquakes, in the midst of their best season since their 2008 resurrection, this will be an excellent chance for the club to gain national and worldwide exposure. Furthermore, since the game is expected to be sold out, the club will be capitalizing from the World Cup buzz and competing against world-class soccer players that fans in the Bay Area are unaccustomed to seeing on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, for the players, it’s a tremendous opportunity to showcase their talents to a worldwide audience and to prove that they can play against a quality European opponent.
It will be interesting to see what type of lineup Manager Frank Yallop will field on Saturday, but it’s safe to assume that he will be putting out his very best side to compete against Tottenham.
To be honest, San Jose stands much more to gain from a meaningless exhibition game than Tottenham, and for that reason, the game will be closer than what most people would expect. Like the third place match in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, expect an open, free-flowing game as both teams have nothing to lose. For the casual fan, this equates to tons of goal scoring opportunities for both sides.
Tottenham 3, San Jose 2
If you were wondering by now, I will be covering the Earthquakes for the remainder of the 2010 Season for 90:00 Soccer and I intend to give you, the readers, the best coverage of the team on the internet.
Since I’ll be in the press box and in the locker room for every home match, I will be taking your questions (and providing updates) in-game via Twitter and will possibly conduct in-game and weekly chats via Cover It Live.
So, before we go any further, here’s my Twitter account = http://twitter.com/Erik_Bartlett
Feel free to ask me any questions that you would want to ask the coaches and players, and if I deem that they are appropriate, I’ll make sure that they are answered.