Reserves star as Toronto FC gives Tottenham a scare

The Reds stormed back from a two-goal deficit in an exciting second half that required a late goal from the Premier League side to secure the victory.

TORONTO — On a night when the bigger names were the draw, it was actually the lesser lights that shone brightest for Toronto FC.

Star striker Jermain Defoe was clearly the most popular player on the field as TFC hosted his old side Tottenham Hotspur in a friendly at BMO Field on Wednesday night, but it was his seldom-used teammates that put on a show as the MLS side fell 3-2 to the North Londoners.

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The makeshift strike duo of Andrew Wiedeman and 18-year-old homegrown rookie Jordan Hamilton led the charge for Toronto as the home side stormed back into a match that it seemed completely out of at halftime. The duo were among a slew of youngsters and reserves that changed the game in the second half after many of TFC's starters struggled through a lackluster opening 45 minutes.

Wiedeman, who has been shuttled in and out of Toronto's 18-man gameday roster all season long, notched a goal and an assist while Hamilton, who has been lighting up the USL Pro league while on loan with the Wilmington Hammerheads, electrified with a strike of his own.

Both players drew praise from TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen for their part in Toronto's near comeback from a 2-0 halftime deficit to the Premier League giant.

"There was some lovely buildup play and [Wiedeman] did really well," Nelsen said. "He provided energy and him and Jordan linked up very well and caused a lot of problems."

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For their part, both Wiedeman and Hamilton said they were pleased with the opportunity to play, especially against top tier opposition.

"The Premier League is the best league in the world, so it just shows you that we're not far off of the Premier League and we're really improving," Hamilton said, noting that fellow MLS side Seattle Sounders drew the same Tottenham side 3-3 on Saturday.

Wiedeman agreed with his young teammate's assessment, adding that several of TFC's players were motivated to put on a good show for both the fans and for their coach.

"A lot of guys had something to prove, so it's good we came out with energy and put together a performance," Wiedeman said. "I haven't been playing really, I haven't been in the 18 [but] in and out of it, so it's always good to be able to put together a good performance and hopefully be sticking in the back of the gaffer's mind at the end of the day."