Tottenham lost 2-1 to the MLS All-Stars. However this was not a game Spurs deserved to lose. There are a lot of positives to take out of the performance – let’s take a look at three players that stood out.
Spurs Trio Shine in MLS Defeat
In Harry Kane, Spurs fans are hoping they have finally found a 20-goal-per-season striker. Everyone knows his name after he burst onto the Premier League scene last season, however there have been worries about Kane potentially struggling with ‘second season syndrome’. In the 75 minutes he played, Kane emphatically showed that he going to again be a goal-scoring force in 2015/16. He could have had a hat-trick in the first 34 minutes, thanks to canny positioning, some fantastic touches, and regularly getting attempts on target. The only thing stopping him was an inspired goalkeeping performance. In the 37th minute he finally got his reward, latching onto a loose ball, and having time to pick his spot, lashed it into the top left corner from 18 yards out. Based on this performance, I would be very hesitant in doubting Kane’s ability to repeat last season’s heroics. In him, Spurs’ fans have the closest they’ve come to a talisman since Gareth Bale.
At the other end of the pitch, Kyle Walker needs to watch out. With Walker not being at his dynamic best in recent seasons, many saw the signing of Kieran Trippier as someone to provide competition, and back-up to Walker, providing the motivation for Walker to drastically improve his form – similar to what the signing of Ben Davies did for Danny Rose. However Trippier is much, much more than just an able back-up. From his second-half display in Colorado, Trippier currently would have the inside running to start versus Manchester United on the opening weekend of the Premier League. He did nothing wrong defensively, was sound under pressure, linked well with his team-mates and passed the ball well. The most impressive thing about him though, is his delivery in the final third. This is an area where Spurs have struggled. Rose’s, Walker’s and Davies’ delivery has always been hit-and-miss. However this is an area that is undoubtedly a strength of Trippier’s. Against the MLS All-Stars he consistently delivered a number of dangerous balls into the box, and it doesn’t take much imagination to picture the partnership he could strike up with Kane on the receiving end.
A player that has promised much, but never quite reached the hype that surrounded him, Mousa Dembele showed some of the talent and drive that made him a fan favourite when he joined in 2012. Spurs’ fans like to joke that Dembele won more Man-of-the-Match awards in the 2012/13 season at Old Trafford than any Manchester United midfielder, having starred there for both Fulham and Spurs in the space of a month. However inconsistency has always been a problem for Dembele. So often has he had good patches, followed by patches where he is practically invisible. In the first half versus the All-Stars, Dembele was everywhere in the middle of the field, using his impeccable touch and ball control to stamp his authority. He regularly held the ball in difficult spots, kept Spurs ticking over nicely, and provided welcome drive forward, never afraid to drop a shoulder, and dribble past his markers. If there’s one criticism of him that would be fair, and unfortunately it is a recurring problem, too little did Dembele provide the killer pass, or attempt a shot. Three goals in total in the last three Premier League seasons is not a good enough return for someone of his calibre. However if he can continue the form shown in this display, he still has an integral part to play for Spurs, despite being linked with a move away.