Tottenham Hotspur were hoping to prove themselves against the MLS All-Stars, but a 2–1 loss only demonstrated that they aren’t yet up to the level of the U.S. top division. The MLS All-Stars jumped out to 2–0 lead by the 23rd minute with a penalty from Kaka, who then set up David Villa for the second. Spurs striker Harry Kane got one back before halftime, but the MLS side took their opponents a bit more seriously and shut them down in the second half.
Going into the match, there was tremendous pressure on Spurs to show some measure of growth following the loss of American star Clint Dempsey to MLS and the appeal of U.S. Open Cup play after just one season with the club, as well as former captain Robbie Keane. They splashed out enough cash to convince a young U.S. international in DeAndre Yedlin to join them in January of this year, bucking the trend of the club only being able to sign older American players, like goalkeepers Kasey Keller and Brad Friedel. However, this has done little to improve the perception of the club amongst “Amerisnobs” — English fans who consider MLS to be far superior to Spurs.
For the MLS All-Stars, who beat German champions Bayern Munich 2–1 last year, the game was far less meaningful. Taken away from their respective teams in the middle of the season and thrown together to face a club that only reached the round of 32 in the Europa League last season, it was nothing more than a promotional nuisance intended to help Tottenham raise their profile abroad.
But even with the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Robbie Keane, Andrea Pirlo, Didier Drogba, Michael Bradley, and Sebastian Giovinco held out of the match to give Spurs a fighting chance, the presence of World Cup winners Kaka and Villa was simply too much for the London side’s ragtag group of no World Cup winners to handle.
Aside from the result, the match may have done more harm than good for Spurs, as it gave MLS scouts a closer look at talented young striker Harry Kane.
“I definitely think Harry has what it takes to play in MLS one day,” said Yedlin of his teammate after the match. “I know he grew up watching David Beckham lift MLS Cups. He has to continue to develop his game, but he can get there. He’s special.”
Spurs must now go back to the drawing board in their ongoing quest for the world’s respect. Tests like this will only help them reach that goal one day, though.