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Venue: Rice Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT
 Saturday 21 July 2007; 8pm MDT
Talley (28'), Findley (29')
Half Time: 1-0
Attendance: 12,221
Friendly 4
Referee: Hidojet Tica

Match Summary

Back in the USA.... David Moyes and his boys were on the quest of more bonding as they sought to deepen preparations for the upcoming season with a display against MLS newcomers. Real Salt Lake... right within smelling distance of a real salt lake! a real BIG salt lake!!!

Everton had started the game reasonably well considering the jet lag and the altitude (Salt Lake City is at an altitude of 4,328 ft) but fell behind a little shy of the half-hour mark when Carey Talley buried a corner from Alecko Eskandarian.  Moments later and the Blues were an embarrassing 2-0 down against hardly the cream of the MLS. Andy Williams setting up Robbie Findley for a goal that sent the home fans wild.

The blues worked up some chances in the second half, which all seemed to fall to Beattie... and you can guess the outcome.  High, wide and not too handsome.  So ended game one (or the only game?!?) of Everton's 2007 Grand US tour.  Y'all come back ag'in sometime real soon, now!!  Yeee Ha!

Michael Kenrick

Everton Sink in Salt Lake

Posh and Becks were not the only Brits busy on the other side of the pond this weekend. While Goldenballs was making his debut against Chelsea (and presumably saving mankind) in the City of Angels, Everton were in action 700 miles away in the mountains of Utah.

A state-of-the-art Olympic stadium nestling in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains was the spectacular setting for the latest game in Everton's pre-season build-up, with the Toffees up against Major League Soccer (MLS) side Real Salt Lake.

The Utah team's futuristic Rice-Eccles stadium, venue for the 2002 Winter Olympics, presented a stark contrast to the club's recent warm up-games. From the soccer moms happily tailgating in the car park, to the searing heat and energy-sapping altitude Gigg Lane and Deepdale, this was not.

Although currently bottom of MLS's western division, Real carved out the first half-chance of the match, forward Jean Martial Kipre springing the off-side trap in the opening minutes, although his angled shot was safely gathered by Tim Howard. This was an early warning of what was to come.

Real, who are in the middle of their season, quickly clicked into gear, and defender Chris Wingert wasted a good opportunity after the Everton defence gifted his dreadlocked team-mate Kyle Beckerman acres of space in the box.

The Everton midfield, perhaps struggling to come to terms with the thin air 4,000 feet above sea level, struggled to impose themselves on the game, resorting to aimless long balls. Johnson, as ever, was industrious, pressuring the Real defence into a couple of lapses, but was unable to carve a clear shot on goal.

New boy Jagielka, playing as a wing-back, embarked on a couple of marauding runs, but, like the rest of Everton's attacks, these quickly petered out. Even Arteta's mind seemed elsewhere, with Carsley getting Everton's only shot on target during the opening period.

With Real exerting more and more pressure, the Blues succumbed to the inevitable midway through the half when Howard, after making a series of good saves, flapped at a corner from his US international team-mate Alecko Eskandarian. Real skipper Carey Talley was left with a simple header from inside the box to open the scoring.

Although the first goal followed a period of pressure from Real, Everton had only themselves to blame for the second a few moments later, when a sloppy pass on the edge of the area gave away possession. With the Everton defence stretched, Real midfielder Andy Williams quickly fed center=forward Robbie Findley, who calmly slotted past a floundering Howard. Cue whoops of delight from the crowd of around 12,000 and sniggers from at least one US journalist in the press box.

In the aftermath of Beckham's move to the USA, there has been a lot of media talk about the apparent gulf in quality between the English top flight and its American counterpart, although Everton's listless first-half performance somewhat disproved this theory.

A mitigating factor, however, could be the punishing training schedule the team is undergoing in the US. After arriving on Thursday, the players have been training at 7,000 feet above sea level, an altitude that would have even Liz McColgan reaching for an oxygen mask. As a result, much of this friendly felt like the first game of pre-season, not the fourth.

Everton at least started the second half a bit brighter, Carsley going close with a long-range effort. Shortly after, Beattie missed the Blues' best chance of the game, tamely side-footing a shot at the Real keeper from close range following a volleyed pass from Osman.

But, as Everton started to find their feet, Real again displayed their counter-attacking prowess. When a cross-field ball found Eskandarian in acres of space, the stocky forward looked odds-on to score, but Howard stood his ground, pulling off a good point-blank save.

Beattie, who appeared increasingly frustrated as the game progressed, blazed over after some good work from Johnson, and was a little unlucky not to connect with a low cross in the dying minutes.

Even after a flurry of substitutions, which saw Arteta come off the pitch and return again 14 minutes later, Everton were still unable to carve out the decisive opening, although substitute Anichebe was furious when his late penalty claim was rejected.

Ultimately, though, this was one of those games where Everton could have played all week and not scored.

Some credit, of course, must go to Real Salt Lake, who were without teenage superstar Freddy Adu and MLS all-star Eddie Pope, but continually stifled Everton in midfield and looked dangerous on the break.

As for the Toffees, they may come back from this US trip with the endurance levels of Kenyan long-distance runners, but they are unlikely to win many American fans on the strength on this performance.

Then again, what's more important? Competing with the David & Victoria media circus or getting three points when we face Wigan on the opening day of the season?

James Rogers


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  Rimando (46' Reynish)
  Besagno (46' Stewart)
  Torres (46' Kotschau)
  Wingert (46' Forko)
  Kipre (46' Lancos)
  Beckerman (61' Watson)
  Talley (61' Cutler)
  Williams (61' Harris)
  Sturgis (61' Jimenez)
  Eskandarian (66' Kirby)
  Findley (45' Brown)
  Subs not used

EVERTON (4-4-2)
  Stubbs (58' Lescott)
  Valente (58' Hibbert)
  Carsley (58' Anichebe)
  Arteta (58' Anderson)
  Johnson (75' Arteta)
  Subs not used
  McFadden (injured)
  Vaughan (injured)
  Cahill (Asian Cup)
  Van der Meyde (excused)


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