It was a familiar situation for Tottenham Hotspur Women in their WSL match against Manchester United Women. A solid defensive performance turned into a tired club letting off on a set piece, and Spurs fell 1-0 at home to Manchester United. Millie Turner scored the match’s only goal, a looping header off of a corner kick. Tottenham again had difficulties generating offense and were held to very few decent opportunities, with United keeper Mary Earps rarely called into any meaningful action.
This match was shown on NBC Sports network in the USA as they hoped to show Alex Morgan’s debut to her legion of American fans. However, for the second straight week Morgan wasn’t even in the match day squad as she continues to work on regaining match fitness after nearly a year away from football. Rosella Ayane started at the tip of the spear for Spurs. Morgan’s former Orlando Pride teammates Shelina Zadorsky and Alanna Kennedy both got starts for Tottenham.
3’ — Big chance for Spurs early. Rosella Ayane latches on to a bad back pass from United but mishits the ball and it goes wide of the goal.
10’ — Spurs deploying a high press as they have against the other big teams in the league and it’s been pretty effective early against this United side. It’s forced a number of turnovers.
14’ — Yellow card to Josie Green for a heavy challenge in midfield.
27’ — Chance for United as Tobin Heath is through on goal, but Spencer blocks her shot out for a corner.
42’ — Fantastic save from Becky Spencer! Katie Zelem fires from the top of the box but Spencer leaps up to tip the ball over the bar.
HALF-TIME — A familiar situation for Spurs Women: they’re holding their own against a team that on paper is better than them. They should try kicking the ball at United’s goal once in a while, though.
One halftime sub for United as Ella Toone comes on for Hayley Ladd. No changes for Spurs.
55’ — Sub for United, Christen Press is off and Kirsty Hanson is on.
58’ — Double chance for United, first off of a free kick that’s headed out by Addison, and again off a corner that’s headed over by United’s Millie Turner. Whew.
64’ — Sub for Spurs. Rianna Dean is on, replacing Ayane.
66’ — Yellow for United’s Jackie Groenen for a hard tackle in midfield.
67’ — Goal United. Millie Turner is able to loop a header over an out of position Spencer and it’s in the net. Crap. 1-0 United.
73’ — Alanna Kennedy limps off the pitch after getting tackled in the same ankle she rolled in the first half. She’s subbed off for Kit Graham.
78’ — Double sub for United — Heath comes off for Kirsty Smith, and Staniforth is on for Zelem.
89’ — Double sub for Spurs. Anna Filbey is on for Gemma Davison, and Lucia Leon is on for Ashleigh Neville. One last roll of the dice for Spurs.
93’ — A couple of crosses fizzed into the box by Spurs but they can’t get a header on it. Looking grim for Tottenam at the moment.
FULL TIME — Ugh.
- It’s a similar situation for Spurs Women — a good defensive performance with an an energetic high press that forced a few turnovers early in the game. Ayane in particular had a golden chance to score off of a turnover in United’s final third, but she shanked the ball wide.
- Spurs’ game plan was somewhat Mourinho-esque — they tried to blow up the midfield, defend stoutly, and try and nick chances on the counter when they could. That works, until it doesn’t and they got undone by a set piece and an out-of-position Becky Spencer.
- Don’t want to be too hard on Spencer as she was outstanding in goal today for Spurs, making a couple of top notch saves that kept Tottenham in the game.
- Tottenham’s issue, as it has been all season, is that their midfield just isn’t very good and they aren’t doing a good job progressing the ball to their forwards. It results in few chances and some very frustrated attackers. Alanna Kennedy, who went off with a knock in the second half, has tried but she’s more of a DM and not a ball progresser. Not sure how effective Alex Morgan will be once she gets into this team if Spurs can’t get her the ball.
- It’s a brutal run for Spurs and it continues next Sunday as they head to Arsenal for a WSL league match. They then travel to Chelsea in the WSL Cup, and then home to a quite good Reading team. The schedule will even out, but Tottenham may be near the bottom of the table for a while.