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 Venue: Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX Friendly   Sunday 1 August, 2004; 2:00pm CDT 
 Torres (20')
 Pardo (57')
 Navia (90')
Half Time: 1-0
  Bent (88')

 Attendance: 16,434 (Fixture 5) Referee: Mr R. Salazar

Match Summary

> Match Facts
> Match Reports

With the threadbare Everton squad further reduced through the loss of Yobo and Gravesen to injury, David Moyes put together a weakened team from the rest of the roster for the second and final game of the Second Copa de Tejas tournament in the magnificent Reliant Stadium, on the beltway of hot and humid Houston, Texas.

Marcus Bent: His first goal in Everton colours wasn't enough to save the tournament for the Blues

Although a bigger crowd was expected for the better supported Club America, only the lower tier of the multi-level monster stadium was opened and a relatively small but reasonably lively crowd spread itself around, with the yellow shirts of the Mexican club out-numbering the dedicated Blues who had journeyed far and wide to be there.

And the Mexicans had a lot more to cheer about, in addition to the rather lame Mexican Wave they got washing around the ground.  Everton, after cleaning the floor with Pachuca on Thursday, turned in a markedly less impressive display, outplayed in almost every area of the field by the yellow peril from south of the Rio Grande.

Despite the one-sided nature of the game, it could have been very different if Everton had converted some gilt-edged chances in the first half. Marcus Bent was the first guilty party, clipping an early effort over the bar, although, to be fair, Watson's cross the finish a fine move was played slightly behind the Blues' new signing.

A similarly impressive move not long afterwards involving McFadden and Bent culminated in a square pass to Naysmith who miscued embarrassingly right in front of goal from eight yards out.

Club America, meanwhile, were full of slick passing but lacked penetration in the early stages until Torres latched onto a loose ball to side-foot past Wright and give the Mexicans the lead. It was an error by Peter Clarke that sent the ball spinning across the area and while Stubbs was slow to react, Torres made no mistake.

At the other end, a good move ended with another cross by Watson but Kilbane's touch was too soft and Saja saved easily. The Irishman had another chance 7 minutes later after wonderful skill by McFadden but his far-post header under pressure from a defender was again tame.

6 minutes before the interval it was Bent's turn to miss from close range, side footing a McFadden centre wide with an awkward right-footed effort when it would have been easier to score with his left. 1-0 at half time.

Whether it was America's greater familiarity with the heat or Everton's fatigue from their exertions against Pachuca (the two Mexican sides didn't play each other for reasons best known to the organisers), but they were far superior in the second period. Pardo extended their lead when he surged through the Blues' defence before firing past Wright.

On 66 minutes Bent glanced a header narrowly over the bar from McFadden's in-swinging corner but the former Ipswich and Leicester man was more fortunate with two minutes to go when he nodded Chadwick's inch-perfect cross back across goal and into the bottom corner to cut America's lead in half.

Instead of an Everton equaliser, however, it was the Mexican side who restored their two-goal advantage with the last kick of the game when the Blues were caught out badly on the break and Wright, stranded in front of two attackers, could do nothing to prevent Navia from tapping in from close range.

While his side did lose comprehensively, David Moyes could take some positives from the game, most notably the number of clear cut chances Everton created and the performances of James McFadden and Leon Osman who were head and shoulders above their team-mates.

Match Facts
AMERICA (4-4-2)
Yellow shirts, shorts & socks
 EVERTON (4-4-2)
White shirts, shorts, white socks
Saja (Martinez 46')
Torres (Valenzuela 72')

Subs not used: Gonzales, Lojero, Arguello, Garcia, Salinas, Ramirez, Rojas

Yellow Cards: 

Red Cards:

Clarke (Campbell 63')
Kilbane (Chadwick 63')

Subs not used: Martyn

Yellow Cards:

Red Cards:


(Denied US Entry:) Ferguson;
(Injured:) Gravesen, Li Tie, Rooney, Yobo

Match Reports
Pachuca (N)      2004-05 Match Reports Index     Sheffield Wednesday (A)
 Everton Websites
 ToffeeWeb Match Summary Match Report
 When Skies Are Grey Match Report
 Blue Kipper Match Report
 Everton Fans' Reports
 Rob van Dijk Match Commentary Report
 Links to Other Media Reports
 Liverpool Echo Match Report
 Daily Post Match Report

Match Commentary Report

Listening to tonights game wasnt much different from listening to, lets say, a drab goalless home draw v Man City in December while were stuck in midtable. Apart from the opponents that is- cause when Darren Griffith (- RadioEvertons commentator) shouts and Anelkas clean through on goal! , Im shitting my pants whereas Pancho Villa (- or whatever his name was) must score! means absolutely nothing to me. For all I know, this Villa played baseball up to his 18th birthday, realised he wouldnt be picked up by the Houston Astros, decided to take up soccer, had his rich daddy buy him a team et voila three months later hes running some poor Scottish left-back ragged.

Enough. Club America hardly rang any bells, although I do believe ex-Holland coach Leo Beenhakker managed them for a short spell, but that was about it. And after all, Pachuca were said to be the best team in Mexico at the moment so I was kind of looking forward to seeing David Weir/Alan Stubbs/Kevin Campbell/ or whoever our captain is nowadays (- sort that out, Moyesy) lifting that Copa De Tejas-trophy. Apparently not so, from what I could make out of the poor radio-reception through the clubs official website we never looked like cruising to another big win. Naysmith and Bent should have opened the scoring, but didnt. Torres did for the Mexicans on 19 minutes and Pardo added a second on 57 as I was drowning one beer after another while surfing the web and being made up to see that the 1966 Cup Final-DVD is now on sale from the Megastore- which is how tonights game actually still cost me 22.94.

Only Marcus Bent opening his account for The Toffees, before Valenzuela sealed the game and somehow the tournament for Club America, was the other positive thing coming out of tonights game. Im not bothered at all about Bent coming in for Tomasz Radzinski, anyone who can score 11 goals for relegated Leicester City must be better than some Polish Canadian whose goalscoring record never warranted his transfer fee from Anderlecht. More worryingly though was tonights team selection as the gaffer only had 14 fit players to choose from, including two goalkeepers!

True- Rooney, Ferguson, Cahill and Li Tie stayed on Merseyside but out of those four players only Big Dunc is likely to be available for selection v Arsenal in two weeks time. A sign of things to come next season? I can just image Paul Gregg thinking I can get you the money for David Moyes to sign three new players before transfer deadline day at the very moment Bill Kenwright rushed to the phone looking for potential investors he hasnt been able to find in more than FOUR BLEEDING YEARS!
Times running out fast and we need a decision at top-level pronto. Even if that means True Blue-Bill stepping aside.

Rob van Dijk

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