Midfielders: Stuart Holden (Houston), Freddie Ljungberg (Seattle), Brad Davis (Houston), Will Johnson (Real Salt Lake), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake), Robbie Rogers (Columbus), Davy Arnaud (Kansas City).
Outlook: This marks the sixth time an MLS select squad has faced a foreign club in the all-star format. The league won the previous five events by a combined 13-4 against West Ham, Celtic, Chelsea, Fulham and Chivas. No players from D.C. United, Toronto FC or the New York Red Bulls will participate this year because of CONCACAF Champions League matches this week. Everton, featuring U.S. national team goalkeeper Tim Howard, lost in the prestigious English FA Cup final last season, beating Manchester United in the semifinals before falling to Chelsea. The club finished fifth in the 20-team Premier League, good enough to qualify for European competition this year. Each team is permitted to use seven substitutes. In case of a tie, neither overtime nor penalty kicks will be utilized.
Everton edge All-Stars on PKs The MLS All-Stars lost in heartbreaking fashion Wednesday, falling to Everton FC in dramatic style on PKs after a 1-1 draw in regulation. Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard took MVP honors. Recap >
MLS All-Stars edged by Everton in PKs Toffees become first foreign side to beat MLS's best in annual game 07/30/2009 12:15 AMBy Andrew Winner / MLSnet.com Staff Watch: Davis equalizes for All-Stars Watch: Saha nets for Everton ASG coverage VW Game Nav All-Star captain Freddie Ljungberg congratulates Brad Davis after his goal. (Jacobsohn/Getty)
MLS All-Stars edged by Everton in PKs Fans forget rivalries for All-Star Game TFC drop Champions League opener Elias Sports Bureau 'Insider's Edge': July 29 More Headlines >SANDY, Utah-- After a 1-1 draw over 90 minutes, visiting Everton FC of the English Premier League defeated the MLS All-Stars 4-3 on penalty kicks. Tim Howard made three saves in the penalty kick session, all in spectacular fashion, including the final save on Seattle's Freddie Ljungberg, to make Everton the first foreign club to win the MLS All-Star Game. After nullifying penalties by Brad Davis and Davy Arnaud, Howard managed to reach his left hand out to stop Ljungberg's chipped attempt down the center of the goal in the sixth round of spot kicks.
The penalties brought an end to an exciting game, which has highlighted by an entertaining first half which saw two goals. Everton's Louis Saha opened the match with a goal in the 12th minute, while Davis answered in the 26th minute. The loss snaps a five-game undefeated streak for MLS in the All-Star Game's current format.
Ljungberg donned the captain's armband for the match, pairing in central midfield with Kyle Beckerman. Davis assumed his usual position on the left wing with Stuart Holden, fresh off an impressive performance in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, lined up on the right. Fredy Montero, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, and Conor Casey led the front line for MLS.
VIDEO • Watch: MLS's Davis equalizes • Watch: Saha scores for Everton • Watch: Commissioner Garber on ET • Buy All-Star Gear >
Chad Marshall, the 2008 MLS defender of the year, played centrally with Wilman Conde on the left and Geoff Cameron on the right to round out the 3-4-3 formation.
Wearing all white kits, the Toffees trotted out a full strength starting lineup. Joleon Lescott, who recently refused a move to Manchester City, anchored the back line in front of U.S. international goalkeeper Howard. Joseph Yobo, who has been working his way back from a hamstring injury, partnered with Lescott in central defense, flanked by marking backs Leighton Baines and Tony Hibbert.
Manager David Moyes opted for a conservative 4-5-1 formation, with Saha the lone striker. Just behind him, Marouane Fellaini and Phil Neville were ready to move forward and join the attack, while 18-year-old Jack Rodwell completed the midfield triangle. Tim Cahill on the right and Leon Osman on the left filled out the starting XI.
Everton's Cahill and Houston's Davis tussled early, as Everton's Australian midfielder set the tone with a physical early challenge.
The visitors came out strong and claimed the first chance of the game. Fellaini pilfered Blanco in the midfield and immediately fed a streaking Saha. The Frenchman's shot skittered by Keller's near post but never troubled the 'keeper. The MLS All-Stars battled back through Ljungberg, who led a promising counterattack which led to a Brad Davis cross.
The first shot on goal came off Cahill's foot, off a cross from Osman. Keller caught the shot easily, but Osman's success down Everton's left side had to worry MLS coach Dominic Kinnear.
Everton capitalized on a mistake by Holden to claim the first goal. The Houston player's errant back pass was easily intercepted by Saha in the penalty area. Alone against Keller, Saha deposited a low shot into the side netting.
After the initial goal, Everton kept the pressure on, with Cahill shooting over from close range in the 17th minute. The All-Stars gamely battled back in search of an equalizer. Casey, matched up with someone of similar size and strength in Lescott, ran onto a well-timed chip from Ljungberg but was muscled off the ball. However, the Colorado forward soon made his mark on the match.
The equalizer came off some excellent holding play from Casey. Receiving the ball near the corner of the Everton box, Casey held off Baines and sent a short cross towards a streaking Holden. The Houston midfielder could barely get a touch on the ball, but luckily his Dynamo teammate Davis was lurking unmarked at the back post. Davis needed only to touch the ball home to knot the game at 1-1.
The goal buoyed the MLS team, which started to hold possession with more confidence. Blanco, who had started slowly, accepted a pass from Montero and attempted to chip Howard. The effort was unsuccessful, but by this stage the All-Stars were starting to trouble Everton's defense on a regular basis. Montero and Blanco, especially, were interchanging nicely for the home side.
Casey almost picked up a goal in the 38th, getting on the end of a beautiful Holden cross. Howard made a sprawling save and collected the rebound as the MLS side threatened to add a second before halftime. Montero had the next chance, coming extremely close to beating Howard at his far post on a shot from outside the penalty area. Howard, who made four saves in the first half, barely touched the ball wide of the post for a corner kick.
In the 45th minute, Cameron's sizzling cross nearly caused an own goal from Lescott, but the Englishman managed to clear the ball over his own goal off his shin. Everton managed to weather the storm and the game went to halftime tied at a goal apiece.
At halftime, Everton made no changes. For the MLS, Landon Donovan, Will Johnson, Bakary Soumare and Zach Thornton came on for Montero, Beckerman, Marshall, and Keller, respectively.
Donovan made an early impression, scrapping for a ball outside of the Everton penalty area. He leapt up to feed Ljungberg, who cracked a right-footed shot just wide of the far post.
With only 16 players on the game day roster, the pickings were slim for Moyes. Seeking to get his team's attacking groove back, Moyes inserted Jo in the 55th minute, replacing Fellaini.
The 20,120 fans who came out to watch -- the largest-ever soccer crowd at Rio Tinto stadium -- got louder as the game rolled on and started the wave in the 57th minute.
Keller, who had come off at halftime, was forced to return in the 61st minute after a thigh injury to Thornton. MLS coach Dominic Kinnear used the lull in the game to clear his bench, bringing on Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Javier Morales and Arnaud.
As the action got back underway, Donovan forced a save from Howard on a cross the LA Galaxy man would surely say was a shot. MLS earned a free kick in the 70th minute as the referee judged Hibbert's sliding challenge to be a little too rough. From just five yards outside the penalty area, RSL's Morales shot over the bar.
At this point, it appeared Everton's tough preseason condition regimen started to catch up to them as they lacked the sharpness they had to open the game. The pace of the game slowed in the still warm air.
Donovan nearly gave the All-Stars the lead in the 75th. After a turnover from Saha, Casey fed Ljungberg, who cut the ball back to an open Donovan. With only the keeper to beat, the Galaxy star took a touch and sent his effort squarely into the far post. The ball bounced back across the goal before being cleared to safety.
Everton made its final three substitutions in the 76th minute, adding James Vaughan, Jose Baxter, and James Wallace.
Seattle fans had their hearts in their throats as Ljungberg suffered a yellow card offense. Rodwell chopped him down to stop a counterattack but the Swede hopped up after the foul. The crowd started to shuffle in anticipation as they had announced before the match that a tie after regulation would result in penalty kicks.
Casey nearly settled the matter with a superb late chance. A loose ball found its way to the striker but his powerful shot lodged itself in between the legs of Baxter and was cleared.
Keller needed only to make one save, hustling off his line to poke away a Neville cross in the 89th minutes. His counterpart, Howard, saved the day for the visitors in stoppage time. He managed to palm a point-blank header from Arnaud straight into the air and leaped high to claim the rebound. In the last action of regulation, Howard left his line to snuff out a dangerous chance with Casey lurking as the game ended with a bang.
In the penalty kick session, Baines, Neville, Lescott, and Rodwell scored for the Toffees. MLS goals came from Donovan, Johnson, and Casey, while Keller had one save and will feel unlucky to have missed Neville's that went in off his hands.
Andrew Winner is a contributor to MLSnet.com.
Everton FC (1-0-0) vs. MLS All-Stars (0-1-0) July 29, 2009 -- Rio Tinto Stadium
Scoring Summary: EVE -- Louis Saha 1 (unassisted) 12 MLS -- Brad Davis 1 (Stuart Holden 1, Conor Casey 1) 26
Penalty-kick shootout: EVE -- James Vaughan (High) MLS -- Landon Donovan (Goal) EVE -- Jo (Saved) MLS -- Brad Davis (Saved) EVE -- Leighton Baines (Goal) MLS -- Davy Arnaud (Saved) EVE -- Phil Neville (Goal) MLS -- Will Johnson (Goal) EVE -- Joleon Lescott (Goal) MLS -- Conor Casey (Goal) EVE -- Jack Rodwell (Goal) MLS -- Freddie Ljungberg (Saved)
Everton FC -- Tim Howard, Tony Hibbert, Joleon Lescott, Joseph Yobo, Leighton Baines, Tim Cahill (James Wallace 76), Marouane Fellaini (Jo 55), Phil Neville, Jack Rodwell, Leon Osman (James Vaughan 76), Louis Saha (Jose Baxter 76),
MLS All-Stars Everton FC total shots: 21 (Brad Davis 4) 6 (Louis Saha 3) shots on goal: 7 (5 tied with 1) 3 (Louis Saha 2) fouls: 17 (Conor Casey 3) 17 (Tim Cahill 3, Louis Saha 3) offsides: 2 (Conor Casey 2) 1 (Louis Saha 1) corner kicks: 5 (Brad Davis 3) 2 (Leighton Baines 1, Leon Osman 1) saves: 2 (Kasey Keller 2) 6 (Tim Howard 6)
Misconduct Summary: EVE -- Jack Rodwell (caution; Tactical Foul) 78
referee: Ricardo Salazar Referee's Assistants: Joe Fletcher; Philippe Briere 4th official: Terry Vaughn time of game: 2:06 attendance: 20,120 weather: Clear -and- 84 degrees
I was actually rooting for Everton in this match-up due to Howard and scouting folks for my fantasy team Have to admit they were lucky, as after about an hour Everton's field players were clearly out of gas. Probably a combination of heat, altitude, travel, short squad and where they are in the pre season.
Great game from Howard but Donovan, Casey and one other guy Arnaud(I think) missed chances that someone like Kenny Cooper would have feasted on Best game I've ever seen out of that Conner Casey, if Bradley continues to pick him for the USA squad over Cooper hopefully if/when he gets in he can play more like he did last night.