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What The USA Team Can Learn From Everton

Apologies firstly as this item from the USA is now a month old... but it serves as an interesting footnote to the all-too-brief Landon Donovan loan spell, and provides an at times amusing thought that the USA national team, who face England in Rosenberg in 2½ months from now, can learn as thing or two from the way Everton play(s) the game and maximize their limited resources.

It appeared as Canales Corner, a blog by Andrea Canales, Chief Editor of North America.

Some interesting observations caught my eye... more perhaps for the sense of irony, as they have been exactly the issues of most concern for some of us for much of the current season, if not a number of previous ones:

  • Playing through the midfield is one particular thing Everton does excellently... They succeed because they play to their strengths of capable midfield players and they keep the ball on the ground.
  • Everton excels is doing less to get more accomplished. That means not forcing the issue at a constant, monotone pace of predictable attack.
  • The focus on not losing possession and having the patience to find the right play is the top priority.
  • Moyes has built Everton into a versatile squad, slotting different players in a manner that presents opponents with a new look.
  • Moyes thinks carefully about his tactics versus a rival. For the match versus Manchester United, Moyes didn't simply put Leon Osman in place of the injured Marouane Fellaini. Moyes shifted Donovan as well.
  • Moyes is able to integrate the young players on his team very smoothly. He trusted Dan Gosling and Jack Rodwell to play important roles as substitutes versus Manchester United, and they rewarded his confidence with goals.
  • The oft-defensive mindset of the Americans against big teams seems to leave them more afraid of making a mistake and thinking less about how to positively impact the game.
  • What Moyes has done to turn Everton into a giant-killer is remarkable, but it isn't revolutionary. It can be duplicated, and the USA would do well to emulate the example.
On the rare occasions I have bothered to watch the USA national team in recent years, their football has appeared pedestrian at best. But with the Everton link so strong going in to the World Cup, and little other than the incredible form of Wayne Rooney to admire about the England team, the parallels drawn in this blog provide an interesting backdrop to the build-up for what could be a fantastic battle come 13 June.
Michael Kenrick     Posted 22/03/2010 at

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Reader Comments

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Mike Allison
1   Posted 22/03/2010 at 16:16:06

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He definitely doesn't read Toffeeweb! Something people on all sides of some of these big debates might agree on is that this 'outsider's view' shows that Moyes and Everton have developed beyond certain of the criticisms that have been levelled in the past, as he highlights as our strengths some things that we all know we've failed to do too often in the past, and have done well since January or so.
Steve Hopkins
2   Posted 22/03/2010 at 16:56:30

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Is he talking about us??

In all seriousness it's nice to hear an outsider without the blue tinted glasses commenting on our recent improvements.

He may well have seen the irony in his comments had he seen us play over the last few years particulalry against the sky 4!
Julian Wait
3   Posted 22/03/2010 at 17:00:02

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The English folks like myself living in the US are well aware that Team USA might well do a number on England in the all important first group game.

If Team USA play to their strengths and have a solid game plan, which they do very well, and England stick with out of form / fitness players like Ferdinand and Gerrard and Johnson, then I think we might see a disappointed or even shocked England team walk off the field, while Landon leads his men to a good or even great result.
Colin Potter
4   Posted 22/03/2010 at 17:15:09

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In case you do read Toffeeweb.You are talking utter fucking twaddle!!!
Keith Glazzard
5   Posted 22/03/2010 at 20:47:48

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From today's Guardian -

"When Moyes left Preston for Goodison in 2002, the template for new managers was Alan Curbishley at Charlton; now it is Everton. "The job David Moyes has done is a testimony to him," said Coyle. "When he first came in, he had to juggle some balls. First of all, Everton were solid and now he's adding a bit of flair. They are a role model a lot of clubs will look at."

Many a voice on this site has been hinting and hoping that we have been going that way for a few years now. And again, its nice to hear it from an outsider.
Keith Glazzard
6   Posted 22/03/2010 at 21:15:56

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ps Michael - has Andrea's comment been expunged? How are we to assess Colin's comment if this has happened? Andrea may have a valid point, but we may never find out.
Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
7   Posted 22/03/2010 at 21:33:14

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Keith, Andrea was the author of the original quoted article.
Keith Glazzard
8   Posted 22/03/2010 at 21:42:11

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Oops, and ta for that Lyndon. Of course, I read every word that has ever been published, but don't always remember them all.

Andrea's Fault. Very California.
Jamie Crowley
9   Posted 23/03/2010 at 01:46:02

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When you watch American football/soccer it is very, very straightforward. There's little if any flair or playmaking. It really isn't that much of a suprise if an American journo watched that game and realized we can gain a ton from emulating Everton. We could gain a ton watching Wigan FFS.

That being said I agree wholeheartedly with Julian. The US has one of it's strongest teams in recent memory. Our problem isn't that far removed from Everton's. If we play the way we are capable of we could shock England. But drawing Everton parallels I fear the "deer in the headlights" effect when we meet the big boys. Will the US play to their potential? Or will they, in the face of a stern, gifted opponent resort to route 1 hoofball defensive minded garbage?
But hope springs here across the pond. I distinctly remember, albeit in a relatively meaningless tournament, our boys utterly brave against Spain and Brazil in the Confederations Cup. But the World Cup is an entirely different matter....
We have a much better shot than folks give us.
Cons - coaching, tactics, game plan.
Pros - athleticism, attitude (sans the fear we all hope over here we want our never-quit approach), and aggression.

Frankly, I'd like nothing more than to topple England. Fine people, argueably our greatest ally, fantastic country.

But the English are a bit pompus when it comes to their football. Don't overlook us.

With that said, cheers! And may the foul, rude, pushy Yanks tonk the shit out of Merry Old England come June!
Adam Fenlon
10   Posted 23/03/2010 at 02:12:49

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"England's hottest team"?? The yanks love their hyperbole dont they?
Nice to see all the same!
Julian Wait
11   Posted 23/03/2010 at 04:45:49

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@Adam - I think she was referring to young Jack perhaps, if the general reaction of some women I know (after he scored against Man U) is anything to be judging by ...
Martin Mason
12   Posted 23/03/2010 at 06:41:48

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I think it's far easier to be critical when you are very close to something. When you look at the big picture of how Everton and Moyes have developed over that 8 years I'm sure that it's a real glowing achievement and the way that we've played recently has been testament to a squad that is developing well in depth, skill and team spirit.

I said a couple of weeks back that I saw Everton as potential champions. That'd be top sides of where we can go but not impossible if we can keep the squad together.

Bosman stopped small clubs doing that though and how can we resist Man United and Chelsea when they come for our best players. How can our salary cap compete with clubs that will pay double?

We must keep clear of injuries and buy well and only if we can genuinely improve the squad (it gets harder every window) but top 3 next year is possible and higher than Liverpool is a must. They are dreadful even the great Steven Gerrard looks ordinary now.

Eamonn Turner
13   Posted 23/03/2010 at 11:14:25

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Is Tony Marsh doin a bit of freelancing stateside?
Dave Smith
14   Posted 23/03/2010 at 21:54:36

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"But the English are a bit pompus when it comes to their football."

Yeah, but to be fair, when it's a sport you have invented (association football that is), you are allowed to be. We live and breathe it over here, and have done since before the turn of 20th century.

How does USA come across in regards to Baseball i wonder?
Jamie Crowley
15   Posted 24/03/2010 at 02:15:20

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Pretty damn arrogant Dave, pretty damn arrogant.

Football's yours - no question. Just a bit of banter friend. Just very excited about our chances to finally not be the doormat of your sport and be taken so lightly.

Mike Gaynes
16   Posted 24/03/2010 at 04:15:25

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Michael, I think the USA/Everton comparison is extremely apt. The USA style is definitely pedestrian, but their effort is always maximum, which is why they consistently "punch above their weight" -- an expression frequently applied to Everton. Both tend to have small squads and less speed and skill than their top rivals, but still win more than their share because of work rate, dedication and teamwork.

Who exemplifies Everton? You could debate it, but I'd say Tim Cahill has been our talisman over the past four seasons. Who exemplifies the USA? With all due respect to Donovan, it's probably Clint Dempsey, a Cahill-esque worker and big-goal scorer.

It works well for both. Mexico has traditionally had pacier, more talented players at every position than the US, and more players in top Euro competition... but the US has completely dominated the rivalry in recent years, as Everton has ruled quicker sides like Villa and City.

As to June 12, the USA has one chance to win, and that is for Howard to have an absolute blinder. The USA backline is vulnerable because of injuries in the middle and lack of pace on the flanks, and England will attack up the wings and put Tall Tim in a shooting gallery. England is weak in goal and central defense, and if Donovan can evade the England midfield enough to provide service to Dempsey and Jozy Altidore, the US can score enough to win -- but only if Howard reaches everything.
Duncan McDine
17   Posted 24/03/2010 at 12:54:36

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Nice little wind up Jamie!!! Actually, if you lived here, you'd realise just how much we moan about England (eg: Tony Marsh & pals about Everton). We might come accross as pompus about footy, because its what we've been brought up playing & watching. With all that footy in our lives, it gives us the right to think we know a thing or three about the game (not that we all do).

To be honest, there will be many English Evertonians cheering on Donovan and his gang if Bainsey doesn't play. I'll be one of em.
James Flynn
18   Posted 24/03/2010 at 17:41:23

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Hey Dave Smith - "association football that is". Interpreted into American English regarding football. Association football begat Association (what Americans called your football once upon a time) begat assoc, begat soccer!! So you even gave us our name for footba

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