Tonight Everton will take on the Major League Soccer All-Star team. Here’s how Toffeeweb previews the match:
The BIG game… in a small stadium… in a soccer backwater that is Sandy, Utah (near Salt Lake City), United States of America. That’s the venue for this season’s MLS All-Star game against Everton, the prestigious match that will finally answer the question on the lips of all US soccer fans: “Who is Everton?”
The MLS has had great success in its All-Star game, winning all five of its matches against big-time clubs. The five victims are Fulham, Chelsea, Celtic (Scotland), West Ham and Chivas (Mexico). Here are the results against British opposition:
2005 MLS All-Stars 4-1 Fulham
2006 MLS All-Stars 1-0 Chelsea
2007 MLS All-Stars 2-0 Glasgow Celtic
2008 MLS All-Stars 3-2 West Ham United
It helps, of course, that this is just a pre-season tune-up match for the opposition.
Everton has experienced its usual off-season — watching the competition purchase big-name players while we try to hold on to our own stars.
Everton thought it had a deal to purchase Kyle Naughton, a promising 20 year-old right back from Sheffield United in the second-tier English division, but Tottenham snatched him up at the last minute. Now we’re apparently inquring about the Tottenham right back Naughton will likely displace.
We tried to buy a Stephane Mbia, a quality midfielder from Rennes in France, but he opted for French giants Marseille. Next, we reportedly targeted Lorik Cana, the Marseille midfielder Mbia will supplant, but he opted to play for Sunderland, of all teams.
Our only acquisition so far, other than on loan, is Anton Peterlin, an obscure American midfielder who plays for the Ventura County Fusion. The Fusion is not even an MLS team. Our great manager Davey Moyes says that Peterlin is a useful player, and given Moyes’ record, he may end up contributing. Still it’s not enough to make an Evertonian’s heart go “Wooaaahh.”
The real drama for Everton concerns the attempts of Manchester City (the new Chelsea when it comes to splashing the cash) to sign Joleon Lescott, our star defender. With money apparently no object, City may well get its man. The money we receive may enable us finally to have an impact in the transfer market, if there’s anyone left to buy.
Business as usual for Everton, then. But perhaps it will also be business as usual when the season starts and we take on big-spending wannabes like Tottenham and Manchester City. If not, there’s still Sunderland.
In the meantime, the faithful can enjoy Everton first-ever appearance on ESPN.
UPDATE: We can also enjoy blasts from the past like this Lee Carsley goal against the Shite: