Galaxy earn draw with Tottenham
Robbie Keane got a chance to take on his old teammates Tuesday night.
The Irish striker led a strong attacking performance by the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first half of a 1-1 draw with English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.
He had three good scoring chances in a friendly that opened the north London club's three-game U.S. tour.
Keane, who starred with Tottenham for parts of eight seasons over two stints before joining the Galaxy last summer, was a handful for Spurs' defense over the first 45 minutes.
He was looking for space at the start and then finding openings as L.A. had the better of play until halftime, then held on the rest of the way to keep things even.
Gareth Bale, coming off a back injury that forced him to pull out of Britain's Olympic team, gave Tottenham a lead in the 17th minute.
Brazilian defender David Junior Lopes pulled the Galaxy even 11 minutes later.
The Galaxy were without stars David Beckham and Landon Donovan, both in Chester, Pa., for Wednesday night's MLS All-Star game against Chelsea.
Keane and Brazilian midfielder Marcelo Sarvas made big impressions in the match.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said he thought Keane ''was a little reluctant'' heading into the encounter, then turned it on.
''He was lively, was encouraging to teammates and the young partner he had up front in (teenager Jose) Villarreal,'' Arena said. ''He had a couple good chances. I was really impressed with his attitude and his play in the game.''
Keane wasn't so pleased, but this wasn't a game he really wanted to play.
''For me, this is a friendly game. I'm not too interested in friendly games - that's being totally honest with you,'' he said. ''It's a game that's obviously good for Tottenham, for preseason. For us, it's a game that it's probably come at the wrong time for us, really because we played three games last week and we have another tough game (at Dallas) on Saturday.''
Bale, who had more playing time than expected, playing to the 74th minute, out-jumped MLS' 2011 defender of the year Omar Gonzalez to send Gylfi Sigurdsson's cross from the left flank over goalkeeper Brian Perk and into the upper-left corner to give Tottenham the lead.
''He came back to us during this week, so (we had to) control the amount of effort he could put in,'' Spurs coach Andre Villas-Boas said. ''Gareth is extremely young (23) and physically a beast, so he was able to put on the effort, and we extended (his time) because we want him to complete a certain amount of minutes before we start the season.''
Lopes scored his first goal since joining the Galaxy in April just 11 minutes later, finishing a superb sequence after Spurs cleared a corner kick.
Sarvas found Hector Jimenez sneaking behind Tottenham left back Sebastien Bassong, curled the ball onto the second-year winger's foot, and Jimenez volleyed it low across the box for Lopes to finish.
L.A. had the better chances the rest of the half, with Keane twice reaching the box unopposed - Kyle Walker knocked the ball away from behind in the 33rd minute, and goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini made a foot save in the 39th.
Keane and Sean Franklin connected in Tottenham's box in the 34th to set up a Jimenez header that Cudicini stopped at the left post.
''It was good to see (Keane),'' Villas-Boas said. ''I was talking to him in warmup, trying to tell him to calm down a little bit. His willingness and power and drive is always there, he's obviously an experienced striker, and he managed to get through our defense a couple of times. In fairness to him, he continues to show his quality.''
The Galaxy made seven changes at halftime, and a young group - two teenagers up front, a rookie in goal, three more on the backline and another in midfield - was forced to defend almost all the second half.
Tottenham managed several chances, with Jermain Defoe, racing past Gonzalez and into the box from a pass from behind midfield, firing just past the left post in the 55th minute.
Tottenham, preparing for its Aug. 18 English Premiere League opener, lost midfielder Rafael van der Vaart and defender Kyle Walker to injury. Van der Vaart, a Dutch star, walked off in the 35th minute with an adductor injury, and Walker suffered an ankle injury midway through the second half.
Villas-Boas said he thought both would be sidelined for three or four days.
Gonzalez, making just his third appearance since returning earlier this month from torn knee ligaments suffered in January, played 63 minutes, his longest stretch yet.
''The knee feels great right now. No problems with it,'' he said. ''Just a matter of getting 90-minutes fit. Every time I step out on the field, I get more confidence in my knee.''
Tottenham plays Saturday against Liverpool in Baltimore and next Tuesday against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
The Galaxy have a friendly Aug. 2 at home against Spanish champion Real Madrid.