Plenty of goals, plenty of guile as Seattle Sounders draw English Premier League power Tottenham

SEATTLE — The Seattle Sounders have played a step above their MLS competition throughout much of the season. On Saturday, they were almost a step above one of the top teams in the world.

Seattle tied Tottenham Hotspur 3-3 in a friendly at CenturyLink Field Saturday afternoon, and was just minutes away from getting an unexpected victory. If not for an unlucky handball in the box on DeAndre Yedlin that gave Tottenham a penalty kick in the 82nd minute, the Sounders could have left with the win.

“I think it was a good game for the fans,” Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid said after the game. “Entertaining, lots of goals, some great goals within the game as well.”

The game was competitive throughout, a far cry from the past two times the Sounders have taken on an English Premier League club: a 4-2 loss to Chelsea in July 2012 and, perhaps most memorably, a 7-0 loss to Manchester United the year before.

“That game obviously was embarrassing to say the least,” Seattle midfielder Brad Evans said. “I think we’ve come a long since then with in our mentality with these games and how we’re going to approach it.”

But after Tottenham midfielder Lewis Holtby knocked a header past Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei in just the 11th minute off a beautiful feed from forward Harry Kane, it looked like Saturday’s contest could be headed the same direction.

This time, however, Seattle fought back, managing to equalize on a penalty kick of their own by Gonzalo Pineda in the 33rd minute. Then they took a 2-1 lead after a ballistic 30-yard strike from midfielder Osvaldo Alonso in the 49th.

Tristan Bowen had the final goal for Seattle in the 79th minute off a feed from Sean Okoli, after entering the game as a substitute just one minute before.

“It was one of those things where we strung a few passes together and my job was to get to the end of that cross,” Bowen said. “Luckily I was able to do so.”

While Schmid was understandably happy with the showing, he did acknowledge the fact that the friendly was a preseason tune-up for Tottenham, while Seattle are at full fitness in the middle of a league season.

“They’re at the beginning of their season,” Schmid said. “The main thing is our guys and our team is always interested in is that they respect what we can do as well and that we can play.”

The Sounders return to MLS play at home on July 28 against the LA Galaxy.

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