Toronto vs. Tottenham Hotspur: How Spurs Will Line Up

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Toronto vs. Tottenham Hotspur: How Spurs Will Line Up
Stephen Brashear/Associated Press
Erik Lamela's aggressiveness and renewed confidence impressed against Seattle. Tottenham will be hoping to see more of the same from the Argentinian against Toronto.

Tottenham Hotspur take on Toronto FC on Wednesday in their second match of pre-season.

The second of three Major League Soccer opponents, Mauricio Pochettino's side drew 3-3 against Seattle Sounders in the opener of their North American Tour.

Stephen Brashear/Associated Press
Tottenham celebrate Roberto Soldado making it 2-2 against Seattle.

The occasionally feisty encounter (involving a second-half flashpoint following a challenge by Roberto Soldado) against a team mid-way through their own season was marked by some real moments of quality—notably Lewis Holtby's opener and Osvaldo Alonso putting Seattle 2-1 up.

Mostly it was the kind of sometimes-bitty, sometimes-measured performance expected of a team only just starting out on their way toward Premier League readiness. A number of substitutes were made, with fitness and a first semi-competitive look at his players the priority for Pochettino.

Stephen Brashear/Associated Press
There was a sizable contingent of Spurs fans watching their team in Seattle.

"I’m happy as it was the first game of the Tour, the conditions were difficult with warm temperatures and all the players did their best," the head coach told Tottenham's official website.

"This is the time to improve and learn and I'm very pleased with all the players."

The meeting with Toronto will reunite Spurs with former players Ryan Nelsen and Jermain Defoe. The latter is an especially quick reunion given he only left the North London club in March.

Nice as that will be for Defoe's ex-team-mates and the traveling Spurs fans, the focus will quickly shift to making the most of the match.

It is likely to following a similar template to the Seattle game, with numerous changes being made. A number of those who did not start on the weekend should be featuring from the off this time.

Replacing Brad Friedel in goal could be Luke McGee. The 18-year-old signed a new contract with Spurs this summer, and he was on the bench for the Sounders game.

He is unlikely to see any competitive senior action this season. But having been brought along on tour, Pochettino might like to have a look at him.

Sang Tan/Associated Press
Kyle Walker could start for Tottenham as he continues his comeback from a season-ending injury.

Kyle Walker was on the bench but did not feature against Seattle. With Kyle Naughton and Ryan Fredericks each having been given a run-out at right-back, the fit-again Walker might be handed his return.

On the opposite flank, Zeki Fryers may be given the chance to start at left-back having finished the match there last week.

Younes Kaboul and Milos Veljkovic finished the Seattle game paired together at centre-back. Options in the position are limited at the moment with Vlad Chiriches injured and Jan Vertonghen still on holiday. Michael Dawson should take part at some point on Wednesday, but it may be Kaboul and Veljkovic who are given their chance to impress from the off.

Ahead of them in midfield, Tom Carroll played 90 minutes in the tour opener so might be expected to be given a rest for this one. Lewis Holtby also played most of the game and might be called on later rather than sooner against Toronto.

Stephen Brashear/Associated Press
With other midfielders still absent, Etienne Capoue (far right) may be given another start in Canada.

In which case Etienne Capoue might be handed a second start in a row, if mostly for number's sake. This could also mean a starting opportunity for Ryan Mason, looking to impress after his second-half introduction in the tour opener.

Moving forward into attack is where things begin to get interesting.

Christian Eriksen did not play at all against the Sounders and should start this one (assuming he is fit, upon which there has been no indication otherwise). His role under Pochettino is naturally still not clear.

Clive Rose/Getty Images
Christian Eriksen may make his pre-season bow against Toronto after not featuring against the Sounders.

With the options available to the Argentinian, Eriksen might be selected as a de-facto central midfielder. Going by the flexibility with which Spurs operated in the second-half against Seattle, it could be a free assignment designed to make the most of his creativity. Something done so with an eye toward a more advanced role when others like Mousa Dembele and Paulinho are back competing in midfield.

Iago Falque was given less than half an hour versus Seattle. Off the back of his equalising penalty and an altogether quietly impressive cameo, he deserves a longer chance to catch the eye in Canada.

If the Spaniard is operating off of one flank, on the opposite side could be Erik Lamela (pictured above).

The Argentinian operated more centrally on the weekend, and he may now be tried coming in off the wing. The renewed confidence, aggression even, that marked the former display was in stark contrast to the more troubled figure last seen in a Spurs shirt in late 2013.

Stephen Brashear/Associated Press
Roberto Soldado kept Seattle on their toes but will be looking to show even more this time out.

Roberto Soldado was certainly looking to get involved against Seattle. Having netted a penalty he will now be keen to add to his pre-season tally from open-play and begin to move away from the finishing issues that plagued his 2013-14.

It should only be a half for him and most of those predicted to start here, with the opportunity to provide match-practice for as many as possible still important at this point of pre-season.

Results are not too important right now. But a more solid display defensively and more productive work going forward—and with both, a win—would be a nice boost to Pochettino as he continues to shape this Tottenham squad to his liking.

 

Predicted Tottenham line-up vs. Toronto: McGee; Walker, Kaboul (c), Veljkovic, Fryers; Mason, Capoue, Eriksen; Falque, Soldado, Lamela.

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