Tag Archive | "Holden"

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Everton edge MLS All-Stars on penalties

Posted on 30 July 2009 by Patrick McShane

It took a monstrous performance from American keeper Tim Howard as Everton FC outlasted the MLS All-Stars Wednesday to win 4-3 on penalty kicks after the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Howard deservedly received MVP honors for his performance, where he made stunning save after save both during the match as well as during the penalty shootout. This is the first time the MLS All-Stars have lost to a foreign opponent and their first loss since 2005.

What turned out to be a surprisingly even affair didn’t appear to be closely aligned in the early minutes of the match, with Everton dominating the run of play. Striker Louis Saha was particularly dangerous in attack with towering midfielder Marouane Fellaini casually working the ball through a lethargic MLS backline. Despite their prowess on attack, it was actually a sloppy back pass by MLS starlet Stuart Holden that led to Everton’s goal in the 12th minute. It was an easy strike for Saha who, despite a range of injury concerns over his career, is still considered an elite striker.

Fortunately for the 20,124 fans in attendance the MLS seemed to come to life and began to create a number of chances. This build up finally led to a breakthrough in the 26th minute when Holden made up for his earlier error and cradled a Conor Casey pass to an onrushing Brad Davis for an easy shot on the left side of goal. The MLS continued to create more opportunities for the remainder of the half, but Howard was up to the task on a number of close range shots.

Though the second half produced the typical mass substitutions one expects from an All-Star game, the qualify of play didn’t drop off and almost appeared to elevate. Landon Donovan looked particularly impressive on attack, nearly delivering the breakthrough goal when he carelessly slammed a wide open opportunity 5 yards in front of goal off of the side bar. After three minutes of added time, the match moved to a penalty kick scenario.

While Everton’s first two kick-takers, James Vaughan and Jo, delivered two horrific misses, the MLS couldn’t take advantage and had their own problems with the spot kicks Only host Real Salt Lake’s own Will Johnson and Donovan delivered clean shots on goal, with Howard contesting nearly every shot headed his direction. The deadlock on penalties was finally broken when Seattle midfielder and former English Premier League regular, Freddie Ljungberg, tried to chip the ball past Howard only for the Everton keeper to casually knock the ball down after initially diving to the right.

Despite the defeat, the overall match was entertaining and the fans seemed to enjoy the atmosphere that Rio Tinto Stadium delivered. With news arriving earlier this week that Houston will be hosting the 2010 All-Star game, one can only anticipate another compelling affair next year.

Notable Performances:

Keller – Probably played longer than he anticipated due to Thornton’s injury. Overall played a great match and didn’t make a lot of mistakes while stepping up his play during the penalty kicks.

Holden – Would have been in contention for MVP if one of his assists wasn’t for the other team. That taken into consideration, he played admirably considering this match was less than a week after his stellar Gold Cup performance.

Beckerman – Was far more withdrawn in Kinnear’s formation than one typically finds Kyle in an RSL kit. While he was outmuscled by Fellaini, he was tenacious and aggressive.

Ljungberg – He was going to be my vote for MVP until the 80th minute came along and he ran out of gas. (His attempt at Zidane status with the chipped penalty kick was also a horrible idea). That said, he was the motor on attack the majority of the night and was one of the better passers on the team.

Casey – I just wasn’t as impressed with Casey’s performance as some people on Twitter were last night. He was consistently offside on breaks and seemed dodgy on attack. His only close call was the snap header off of Holden’s cross that challenged Howard late in the first half. He was decent if someone (like Donovan) set up the attack, but was lost on his own.

Blanco – I expected more from Blanco and he just didn’t deliver. Maybe it was the late-night partying at the MLS W.O.R.K.S. All-Star event on Tuesday, or maybe he just didn’t want to get hurt. He seemed indecisive at the top of the box, which isn’t what I typically consider a Blanco trait.

Johnson – Prior to Wednesday I was shocked by Johnson’s selection to the squad. After watching his second-half performance, I feel like I need to recant my sentiment of doubt. Johnson appeared very comfortable in his central midfield role and was quick with his decision making. Hopefully this leads to a strong second half of the season for him in MLS play.

Morales – The best thing Morales did all night was honor teammate Andy Williams by wearing his traditional jersey number, 77. Outside of that, he seemed lost throughout the match and appeared to pick up a late injury that could hurt his chances of playing for Real Salt Lake this weekend.

Donovan – If Donovan was fit to play the entire match, I think we would have seen a different result and potentially a different MVP. I thought Donovan was pure class throughout the second half despite his late folly in front of goal. He was one step ahead of Everton’s defense and brilliant at getting his teammates involved.

Comments (4)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here