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IMG Tournament introduction and Day One report
Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List.

Ray Lo has travelled to Florida for this annual youth tournament. Because of personal circumstances, Ray's ability to report on this tournament has been hampered, but here is an introduction to the competition, and Ray's match report from Day One:-

Spurs Academy travelled to Florida this week to defend the IMG Cup that they won last year. This is the U-19 competition sponsored by Under Armour at the IMG Academy in Bradenton Florida. This will be Spurs' third trip having been runners up to the Brazilian side Cruziero in the first year and beating Black Rock of the US in the final last year.

This time Spurs play Toluca, Baltimore Celtic and Jacksonville Armada in their group. The other group is made up of IMG U-18, Black Rock, Tampa Bay Rowdies and Maccabi Haifa.

Spurs schedule is -


Wednesday 16th 11.30am 
Tottenham Hotspur V Baltimore Celtic
Thursday  17th 11.30am 
Tottenham Hotspur V Jacksonville Armada
Saturday  19th 7.30pm 
Tottenham Hotspur V Toluca FC

The last game is in the stadium and likely to be televised on SpursTV

On Sunday there will be play-off games between the two groups probably starting with the two fourth placed teams finishing with the second placed teams in the stadium at 5.30pm and the final between the two top teams at 7.30pm also in the stadium. The two games in the stadium should be televised so if Spurs are playing then SpursTV will most likely show it.

I don't believe the other games will be shown but check the official site for information. I won't know the squad that Spurs will be taking until I get out there before the first game unless the official site releases it.

IMG Cup 2015 - Day 1
Wednesday 16th December, 2015
Spurs 3 Baltimore Celtic 1

Spurs scorers:- Loft, Bennetts, Tracey

Spurs opened their group with a game against Baltimore Celtic who they played on both of their previous visits here. In 2013 they surprised Spurs with a 2-2 draw but Spurs made sure last year with a 5-1 win. I have been hampered by the lack of squad lists for this game so am unable to give the Baltimore side. Spurs' squad included 14 first year players(under 17) and a trialist. A late injury to Kazaiah Sterling led to him being one of two players having to drop out reducing the squad to twenty.

The Spurs team lined up with Austin in goal behind Tanganga and Brown with Muscatt at right back and Tsaroulla on the left. Owens anchored the midfield with Pritchard alongside him. Ahead of them Edwards was central with Bennetts on his right and Duncan on his left in support of Loft up front.

Spurs kicked of the first 40 minutes in very hot conditions but kept a high tempo. The Celtics were pushed back to defend deep and prevent the first chance for Spurs until the seventh minute when Loft played in Bennetts for a shot over the bar.

Baltimore broke down the left but the effort was wide. Duncan drew the first save when a left sided corner was not cleared and he shot from the left angle of the area. Spurs took the lead after 14 minutes when Spurs worked the ball down the left for Owens to volley the ball from the edge of the area. That shot hit the left post and came out favourably for Loft to finish.

Austin was called into action when he had to save a free kick at the expence of a corner. Bennetts played in Prichard for a chance that flew wide and Edwards managed to dribble his way through for a shot that was saved. Tsaroulla was continually getting the better of his man on the left. He again combined with Duncan to allow the midfielder to come inside and play the ball into the near post for Bennetts who had made a run in behind the defence from the right to score inside the far post.

The keeper had to make a save from Pritchard before Baltimore made a quick break down the right by their most dangerous player. Akinlosotu got the better of Tsaroulla and Brown to score at the near post. The half ended with the Baltimore side trying to put pressure on Spurs.

Despite the heat, there were no changes by either side for the start of the second half which saw Baltimore close down Spurs a lot quicker than in the first half to gain possession more with Akinlosotu firing wide after only a minute. Spurs adapted to the change and Loft saw his effort saved for a corner. Baltimore headed wide at a corner before Spurs made a triple change.

Shashoua replaced Duncan on the left and Pritchard was replaced by Goddard in the centre while Tracey came on for Bennetts to support Loft in a more advanced position.

The Celtic centre-back headed wide at a corner before Muscatt crossed beyond the far post where Shashoua collected and advanced to shoot hitting the inside of the far post before it was cleared. Goddard played a through ball to Loft on the left of the area and his effort beat the keeper and looked to be going in before Tracey made sure for the third goal.

This was the signal for a host of changes by both sides with Spurs taking off Muscatt for Roles at the back. Owens was replaced by Stylianides in the midfield and Oteh took over from Loft up front. Brown was also replaced after he went down with cramp. Roles got forward to fire wide and Oteh drew a save gefore the final whistle.

I was not able to stick around for the other game in our group but it looks like the Mexican team Toluca beat Jacksonville Armada 4-0. Spurs' next match is against Jacksonville.

Ray

IMG Tournament Day 2 report
IMG Tournament Day 4 report(No Day 3 game for Spurs)
IMG Tournament Final report

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