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Venue: Pizza Hut Park, Frisco, TX
 Saturday 29 Jul 2006; 8:30pm CDT
Cuevas (89')
Half Time: 0 - 1
Arteta (5') 
Infante, Vuoso, Cervantes, Mosqueda, Cabaas
Penalties: 5 - 4
Beattie, Arteta, Stubbs, Pistone, Kilbane  
Attendance: 11,467
Pre-Season No 6
Referee: Juan Marufo

Match Preview

From the relative cool of Ohio, Everton's players move to the heat of Texas for the second and final match of their US tour. And if David Moyes's charges looked a little sapped for energy and short on fitness in their lethargic workout against Columbus Crew, they will surely struggle in the triple-digit temperatures of Dallas against Club América. Highs of over 100°F (38°C) are expected this weekend, so the Mexican opposition will not be the only challenge for the Blues.

Victor Anichebe: top scorer in pre-season so far

With just two more pre-season fixtures after this before the Premiership season kicks off on 19th August, Moyes might be thinking about giving more playing time to his potential starting IX against Watford in three weeks' time and also those he feels could do with the extra fitness training... *cough* James Beattie *cough*... this return match against América will provide.

Moyes was cautious with those players who came to the States carrying knocks from the Celtic friendly and but it looks as though Andy Johnson, Joseph Yobo, and James McFadden could be involved again this weekend.

Trialist Delron Buckley, however, appeared to pull a hamstring in the dying minutes in Ohio and while there is no news yet of his condition, it would be a surprise if he makes a run-out against América. Victor Anichebe took a knock in that game as well, while Tony Hibbert is suffering from blistered feet.

Joleon Lescott came through his first 90 minutes unscathed, though, and could get another chance to settle into the side, while Alessandro Pistone will no doubt be pushing to start at left back instead of Patrick Boyle so that he can increase his fitness following a long injury layoff last season.

Anichebe, the top scorer so far in pre-season, was flagging after 45 minutes against Columbus so he, like Beattie, could probably use the run-out if fit, especially if Johnson doesn't start.

América came out on top when these two sides met in the Copa de Tejas tournament in Houston two years ago. The Mexicans triumphed 3-1, with Marcus Bent scoring for the Blues that day.

Lyndon Lloyd

Late slip is costly for improved Everton

For 85 minutes of this the final match of the Blues' two-game trip to the US, it looked as though Everton were going to gain revenge for the 3-1 defeat at the hands of Club América two years ago. But an injury-time strike by Nelson Cuevas eluded Richard Wright to cancel out Mikel Arteta's fifth-minute free kick and the Mexicans won the resulting penalty shootout 5-4.

Despite the oppressive Texas heat, David Moyes's side were light years better than the lethargic display they put in in Ohio against Columbus Crew three days earlier.

Andy Johnson, Joseph Yobo and James McFadden, all of whom missed the Columbus game with injury concerns, were named in the starting line-up, along with Tim Howard, Joleon Lescott, Simon Davies, Gary Naysmith and Arteta.

And it was the Spaniard who got the match off to a terrific start after McFadden had been upended on the edge of the box just four minutes in. Arteta stepped up and despatched a perfect direct free kick into the top left-hand corner.

McFadden, playing with plenty of vigour and purpose, might have doubled the advtantage 11 minutes later but his point-blank volley off Naysmith's well-placed header was parried by goalkeeper Navarrete.

Then, after Johnson cut the ball back across the six yard box, Cahill guided a first-time effort just wide of the far post as the Blues continued to carry the greater threat.

Up until that point, América's only offensive contribution had been a lame lob by Lopez that Howard caught easily, but as the half wore on, the Mexicans started to assert themselves a little more and, on the back of some aggressive tackling by the English side, things got decidedly testy at times.

Cahill was booked for sliding through Castro with two feet and Yobo also went into the referee's notebook for catching Cabañas late as the temperature of the game began to rise.

Vuoso headed narrowly over but América's best chance of the half fell to Salinas after a defensive lapse by Lescott and a poor clearance by Carsley teed up a shot for Cabañas that was parried by Howard and Salinas missed badly with the rebound.

Ahead at half time, Moyes made the expected changes to give more players some playing time. Cahill, Howard, Naysmith, Johnson and McFadden all gave way as Kevin Kilbane, Wright, Alessandro Pistone, Delron Buckley and James Beattie entered the fray.

Perhaps because of the heat and the fact that they were leading, the second half was a more reserved affair where Everton were concerned. Arteta got booked for a flair-up with Salinas but the occasional hostility mostly died down as América got on with the job of trying to engineer the equaliser.

It wasn't until the last quarter of the game, though, that they started to turn the screw. Vuoso tried his luck first, latching onto a perfect cross and sending a powerful header goalwards that Wright did well to parry from point-blank range. Yobo's acrobatic bicycle kick inside the six-yard box got the ball clear.

Then Cabañas tried an overhead kick of his own after Lescott had toe-ended the ball into his path but it fell wide of the post.

At the other end, Beattie raced onto a nicely-weighted pass by Arteta before driving into the side-netting from an increasingly tight angle.

Two more late changes by Moyes replaced Davies and Carsley for Stubbs and Weir but they couldn't prevent Cuevas from making space for a shot from 20-odd yards out that bounced once and flew past Wright into the net. It looked very much like an error by Wright who was so close to it that he should have got something on the ball.

So, 1-1 after 90 minutes, the game went to a penalty shoot-out during which everyone scored except Stubbs who fired his spot-kick off the top of the crossbar.

All in all, a much better performance by the Blues and a bit of a shame that they lost a match they always looked like winning.

Of all the players Lescott perhaps gave the most food for thought with a much more composed display and the beginnings of an underdstanding with Yobo.

Unfortunately, Johnson had little service in the danger areas and he often had to drop deep or out wide to get the ball so there wasn't much on which to base an assessment of him. The same went for Buckley who, apart from some nice link-up play with Arteta and Beattie, was a largely peripheral figure.

Most pleasing was the dominant nature of Arteta's performance at times as he orchestrated the midfield. Once again he underlined his superiority in the Everton squad and the need for more players like him if we are to realistically challenge in the top six in the Premiership this season.

Next up, Aberdeen and the penultimate pre-season fixture before everything begins in earnest on 19th August.

Lyndon Lloyd

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  Castro (63' Infante)
  R Rojas
  Rodriguez (46' Cervantes)
  Arguello (46' Mendoza)
  Torres (63' Pena)
  Lopez (46' Cuevas)
  O Rojas (72' Mosqueda)
  Subs not used

EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Howard (46' Wright)
  Yobo :32'
  Naysmith (46' Pistone)
  Carsley (82' Stubbs)
  Cahill:25' (46' Kilbane)
  Davies (82' Weir)
  Arteta :47'
  Johnson (46' Beattie)
  McFadden (46' Buckley)
  Subs not used
  Anichebe (injured)
  Hibbert (ill)
  Vaughan* (injured)
  Van der Meyde* (injured)
  Valente* (on leave)
  * Did not travel to US