By JASON MITCHELL
Friendlies between MLS and English Premier League teams are always judged by whether they entertain and whether the American side holds its own against an inherently more prestigious opponent.
By those and most any standards, Saturday’s 3-3 draw between the Seattle Sounders and Tottenham Hotspur in front of 55,349 at CenturyLink Field certainly succeeded.
Iago Falque capped the scoring in the 82nd minute, equalizing for Tottenham after referee Ted Unkel whistled DeAndre Yedlin for a handball in the penalty area. It was the third penalty Unkel awarded on the afternoon.
Second-half substitute Djimi Traore earned a great look on a stoppage-time side volley, but slapped his shot off the FieldTurf and over goalkeeper Brad Friedel’s crossbar.
Seattle dominated most of the first half, but Lewis Holtby opened the scoring in just the 10th minute, splitting Seattle’s central defenders and easily beating goalkeeper Stefan Frei for the 1-0 lead.
Unkel awarded the Sounders the first penalty of the match after defender Michael Dawson climbed over Chad Marshall on a 33rd-minute corner kick. Gonzalo Pineda equalized with a so-called Panenka, chipping Friedel down the center of goal to tie the match 1-1.
Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino made seven halftime substitutions, but Osvaldo Alsonso restored the Sounders lead in the 49th-minute with a 30-yard wonder strike that scraped the underside of the crossbar and ricocheted past a helpless Friedel.
Seattle’s lead was once again short-lived, however. Just six minutes later Roberto Soldado converted a penalty kick after picking up a foul on Marshall in the area.
Late substitute Tristan Bowen briefly put the Sounders back up in the 79th minute, tapping home a low cross from Homegrown Player Sean Okoli for the 3-2 lead.
Eighteen-year-old Xander Bailey, signed to a one-day contract on Friday, kicked off the game for the Sounders and quickly forced Friedel into his first save of the match.
Looking forward, Seattle is off until hosting the LA Galaxy on July 28. Tottenham visits Toronto FC on Wednesday and the Chicago Fire next weekend.
Here are the match highlights: