San Jose draws with Tottenham, 0-0

Frustration was the theme as the San Jose Earthquakes and the Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur played to a 0-0 draw Saturday afternoon to a record crowd in Santa Clara, Calif.

A number of players from each side either played limited minutes or didn’t participate in the match, which was Tottenham’s first of the preseason.

The match was certainly a back-and forth affair, as the teams combined for 31 shots. A lackluster pitch prevented many quality strikes as players were constantly slipping and falling when in the act of shooting.

The Spurs offense was running through Robbie Keane for much of the first half, and despite some solid scoring chances, it proved relatively unsuccessful. The Irish captain would be called offsides four times in the opening 45 minutes, one of which nullified a score in the 11th minute. The best chance for Tottenham came in the 25th minute as Kyle Naughton served up a ball from the right corner, but Robbie Keane pushed a free header from five yards out wide left of goal. Gareth Bale also provided a solid scoring chance with a free kick from more than thirty yards out, but San Jose keeper Jon Busch made an outstanding save on a ball destined for the right upper 90.

Cornell Glen had a standout first half for the Quakes, who actually outshot the Spurs in the early going. The Trinidad and Togago native’s best opportunity came in the 33rd minute. Glen got around three Tottenham defenders, causing two of which to lose their balance and fall, but didn’t really get a great strike as Carlo Cudicini saved it. Right before the half, Glen had another breakaway towards goal, but the Spurs defense ultimately caught up to him before he could get a decent shot.

The second half was more of the same as ten new players entered the pitch after the break, seven of which came in for the Earthquakes. San Jose controlled possession for much of the second half with subs Omar Jasseh and Arturo Alvarez giving the Tottenham defense fits for the rest of the match.

That said, Keane probably had the best scoring opportunity of the half in the 56th minute. Gareth Bale went down the left flank to serve a ball up to a leaping Keane on the right post, but the Irishman couldn’t connect well, sending it high.

The 17-year old Jasseh looked like a future star on the afternoon with his speed. The Gambian who spent his youth career playing for academies in England was able to do just about anything he wanted on the left side of the pitch, but the Quakes couldn’t convert on a number of chances that sprang from his runs.

Things got a bit more interesting in the last few minutes. Jasseh was taken down just outside the penalty area in the 87th minute, drawing a free kick for Argentine Javier Robles, who couldn’t connect from the dangerous spot as the shot sailed into the stands.

In the 88th minute, Andros Townsend found himself surprisingly unmarked inside the 18-yard box near the right post, but a sliding Bobby Burling ended the threat before much could be made of it.

The last chances of the match came from the feet of Alvarez. In the 89th minute, the Texan who plays on the El Salvadoran national team took off on a sprint up the right side and found a well-defended Ryan Johnson in the box, but the Jamaican couldn’t handle the pass cleanly as Tottenham cleared it. Just seconds later, Alvarez got free in the penalty area on the left side, but failed to convert from a tough angle.

Tottenham will now head to New Jersey to play Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls on Friday and Sporting Lisbon next Sunday. Both matches will be televised stateside on Fox Soccer Channel. San Jose will continue their MLS regular season Thursday against league-leading L.A. Galaxy.

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