EPL teams both look listless
BALTIMORE -- The first-year managers from Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur were happy with what they got out of their teams' lackluster scoreless draw Saturday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium.
Given the 90-plus degree heat and humidity -- conditions all but certain to be the exact opposite from those the teams will play in during the English Premier League season -- they were happy just to get out alive.
"I was thinking yesterday of trying to arrange a way to play less time because it's extremely -- no, seriously -- it's extremely difficult," Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas said.
In 90 minutes, Villas-Boas' squad managed just one shot on goal, suffering because of a shortage of attacking players for various reasons. At the other end, veteran American goalkeeper Brad Friedel made five saves for Tottenham, the best a parry at the near post in the 28th minute as he stumbled backward, stopping 18-year-old Liverpool forward Adam Morgan.
"It was a tough game because of the heat," Friedel said. "But it was just as warm for them as it was for us. When we get home to England, everyone will be feeling fit."
English midfielder Steven Gerrard came on for Liverpool in the second half, playing just 28 minutes in his first action since the 2012 European Championship.
"Surely the fans that sat there were piping hot just watching the game, and you think about the players that were out there. That's both teams," Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said. "Both teams put on a very good spectacle. It's not basketball. So it's not going to be high scoring. When you get two teams that are tactically organized, get top players, then they are always tight games."
The tightest moment actually came in the 18th minute, when Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam tackled Gareth Bale from behind, bringing to mind Adam's similar challenge in May 2011, when he still played for Blackpool and broke Bale's ankle.
"I didn't know the previous history between the two," Villas-Boas said. "I know now. ... Charlie came to me and said something about the challenge, which I can accept. But I think he should go to the player to say sorry because in the end if the player escapes hospital, it's because he's very lucky. ... You can never doubt Charlie's integrity, but it's a very nasty challenge."
Bale left the Tottenham locker room after the match in a walking boot, but after the tackle he still created the game's best scoring chance with a dipping cross in the 42nd minute. Aaron Lennon met Bale's service on the far side of the goal but hit the post from point-blank range to gasps from the crowd of 42,723.
Clad in a Tottenham jersey, new Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash approved of the contest.
"I thought the teams looked fine," said Nash, whose father is a native of the Tottenham section of London. "They're in the middle of two-a-days, and it's 90 degrees. This isn't what they're going to look like in a month or so. They're all pretty tired, but I thought that they handled it well, and it had some great moments and some great stuff considering."