HARRISON, N.J. – Tim Cahill made an immediate impact in his New York Red Bulls debut, but it wasn’t enough to help his new club see off Tottenham Hotspur.
Spurs erased an early deficit, rallying in the second half to beat the Red Bulls 2-1 in a friendly played in front of 21,701 fans at Red Bull Arena on Tuesday night.
Cahill drew a penalty kick in the seventh minute that Kenny Cooper converted, but goals from Gareth Bale and Gylfi Sigurdsson five minutes apart saw New York lose in their marquee summer friendly.
It didn’t take long for Cahill to show his quality in his debut, as Dax McCarty picked out the Australian’s well-timed run from deep in the midfield seven minutes into the game. Cahill beat the backline and chested the ball down, but before he could take a shot on goal from 12 yards out, center back Jan Vertonghen tripped him up from behind.
Cooper took the ensuing spot kick and stuttered during his run-up before getting Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes to guess the wrong way.
Red Bulls goalkeeper Bill Gaudette was tested shortly after the opening goal, and it was his two acrobatic saves in the first half that allowed New York to maintain the lead going into halftime.
Gaudette also came up big early in the second half by stopping Aaron Lennon’s wide-open shot from the right, but there was nothing he could do on Bale’s finish in the 59th minute. The Welsh star rose up over McCarty and headed home a corner kick into the top corner, pulling the visitors level before a plethora of subs were made on both sides.
Tottenham then went ahead five minutes later as Sigurdsson found the back of the net. The Icelandic midfielder dribbled into the penalty area, got by center back Markus Holgersson with a nifty cut and then placed a right-footed shot to the far corner that Gaudette could only stare at.
New York never managed to get much going offensively after the opening 15 minutes of the game and their offense sputtered as they searched for an equalizer, allowing Spurs to close the game out with relative ease.
The Red Bulls have a short turnaround before their next league game, as they go on the road to visit the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium in an all-important Eastern Conference clash on Friday (8 pm ET, NBC Sports Network).
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.