Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Tottenham Hotspur, the former team of Sounders FC star Clint Dempsey, will come to Seattle for a July 19 friendly at CenturyLink Field.
The exhibition against the English Premier League opponent is included in season-ticket packages, including half-season memberships. Game tickets go on sale March 10.
Tottenham, making its third U.S. tour in five years, isn’t quite a marquee team like the Sounders have hosted in previous friendlies, an impressive group that has included FC Barcelona, Manchester United and Chelsea FC. The Spurs currently sit seventh in the league standings and would appear unlikely to sell out the stadium, though some local connections could drive interest.
Dempsey played for Tottenham in the 2012-13 season before his high-profile transfer to Seattle in August. Former Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller, an Olympia native, featured for the North London club from 2001 to 2005.
Also, American goalkeeping great Brad Friedel, who starred at UCLA under current Sounders coach Sigi Schmid, has played for Tottenham since 2011, albeit in a backup role this season.
A potential issue, though, is the game is scheduled six days after the FIFA World Cup final in Brazil, meaning the visitors could be without some of their top stars depending on how far their respective teams advance — e.g. forward Jermain Defoe (England), goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (France) and leading scorer Roberto Soldado (Spain), midfielder Mousa Dembele (Belgium).
That also holds true for the Sounders as it relates to Dempsey, the captain of the U.S. national team, and midfielder Brad Evans.
Tottenham will use the U.S. tour, which also includes a July 26 exhibition at Chicago, as preseason preparation for the 2014-15 season. The Spurs, founded in 1882, have won two first-division titles (none since 1960-61), eight FA Cups and four League Cups.
“The MLS opposition we face will be in the middle of their seasons and playing in their home stadiums, so we can expect strong tests,” said coach Tim Sherwood, who took over two weeks ago after the team parted ways with Andre Villas-Boas.
There will be fan events in anticipation of the friendly, including an open practice, chances to meet players and coaching clinics.
This past year was the first since the Sounders joined MLS in 2009 they didn’t have a friendly, and that was due in part to the city hosting a FIFA World Cup qualifier and a CONCACAF Gold Cup doubleheader over the summer.