The result of the friendly between the Galaxy and Tottenham Hotspur is really a moot poin..."/> The result of the friendly between the Galaxy and Tottenham Hotspur is really a moot poin..."/>

Carpool Lane: Trip to Galaxy 1-1 Draw vs Tottenham


The result of the friendly between the Galaxy and Tottenham Hotspur is really a moot point—it’s a friendly. It’s an exhibition put on between the two teams. But it doesn’t much resemble exhibitions that the NFL showcases in Honolulu, or the NBA All Star game. Some of the stars were out, but if those games are what we should expect in an exhibition, this game fell flat on its international face.

But that was not the case as these teams squared off for the first time. The Home Depot Center stands ebbed and flowed with the multicolored jerseys marching around the stadium. Of course there were some Galaxy jerseys and a fair amount of Hotspur kits and scarves, but then there were Arsenal jerseys (which I could say I get as their London rival out to route against Tottenham), Chelsea jerseys, a Liverpool Diego Suarez jersey, and a Netherlands jersey? It was as if wearing any soccer jersey lifted you into an elite class of fan, far more superior than their plain clothed colleagues of fandom. Its not the same means, but it’s a similarly achieved result of looking goofy like wearing the T shirt of the band you are seeing.

Outside was a chorus of Tottenham chants marching around the stadium. A group of about 12 mostly British fans had their arms outstretched, clapping “Nobody likes us”, “Everybody Hates us” “Tottenham—Tottenham!” Some of the group certainly looked out of place, but surprisingly, they knew the chants as they aimlessly circled the stadium while cars zoomed by trying to park.

David Beckham and Landon Donovan did not start, nor were they likely to be two of the six possible subs. But former Hotspur Robbie Keane started, and captained the Galaxy up top. He was not only a focal talking point leading up to the game, but he had to be a primary reason that the two sides had agreed to the terms of this friendly.

Tottenham came out early and pressured the Galaxy with their attacking wing play, and ball pressure. The first goal came pretty early from Gareth Bale, who looked every bit like the best player on the field. The young left winger tucked inside the box to snap in a header he received on a cross from his native left side. As the ball sailed over backup keeper Park’s right hand, the crowd did not grumble, did not heckle, did not exhibit one bit of negativity. In fact, they cheered loudly.

That signified what a different game this friendly is. There is intrigue to see how the Galaxy of the MLS will stack up against a fast, energetic, successful franchise in the EPL. But the reported 25,673 fans came out to see what all of the fuss about the EPL is in person. There were no grumblings, and if Tottenham had gone on to route the Galaxy, fans would feel like they got more than their money’s worth than perhaps if the game was close. Which it ended up being.

The Galaxy got the goal back fairly quickly as well as Sarvas played a ball out to the wing, and then Jimenez knocked a low ball back into the center in front of a wide open David Lopes in front of the net.

Keane went on to have some golden opportunities behind the back 4 which he squandered in the rest of the half. The top flight finisher uncharacteristically ruined one on goal opportunities by taking them too slowly; but on the other hand the Galaxy got nothing going forward without Keane in the second half when Newport Beach youngster Jack McBean came on for him.

While the fans were not upset to see the Galaxy down, when Lopes put in the equalizer the crowd roared louder than it had for Tottenham. It was a combination of surprise and pleasure that the hometown, underdog Galaxy were IN this game. They weren’t getting outmatched any longer as the goal went by the keeper, and the fans turned from indifference to the outcome to desiring some home cooking.

The disappointment of the match however was that American Brad Friedel did not start at keeper for Tottenham. One of the heroes of the 2002 World Cup team, Friedel is a pillar of consistency in the EPL for more than the last 10 years. He gives Americans a good name in England, and has paved the way for players like Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey to thrive there on the biggest stage. It is not a surprise that the veteran of veteran players did not suit up for a friendly, but considering Friedel played at UCLA, I hoped that net-minder might make an exception for this homecoming.

Not really minding one outcome or the other is an unusual predicament for fans at a game, but along with the players help it certainly was pulled off Tuesday night. The players on the field played hard. It did not look like they were putting on a show similar to an All Star game; the two sides played a convincing game. Two Tottenham players including Rafa Van der Vaart left the game with injuries it was so convincing. But the game was a great showcase in a match that was wholly unnecessary, but delightful.

This game meant nothing to the Galaxy because they are in season and trying to go back to the playoffs. This game meant nothing to Tottenham as this is their offseason, and this is a promotional tour to help spread their worldwide brand. But it could mean more to the Galaxy than a regular season game. The question fans around the world have is “is the MLS any good.” The conventional wisdom is not really, but the only time you can compare the two products (MLS and the rest of the world) is in a friendly of this sort.

It’s a different brand of soccer but Robbie Keane who bridged the gap between these two clubs and the rest of the MLS professionals held their own Tuesday in a 1-1 draw—and everyone was summarily pleased regardless of that outcome.