Monday, July 25, 2011
Everton in DC
As I said for the US/Jamaica game, there are some perks due to living in DC. Ok, this perk -Everton vs. DC United - might not be too big of a perk for some people, but it does the job for me. I was pretty psyched when I found Everton was coming to my city. Here is a quick little review of their time here.
Practice - Everton had an open practice Friday morning, and of course, I went. It was 100 degrees and sunny, a bit different than Liverpool. There were only about 100 fans and it was kinda weird. Probably the weather, but most people were pretty subdued. I give a nice "Alright Timmy" as Tim Cahill came out and he sent over a brief salute, maybe more of a wave, or at least some sort of acknowledgment.
The practice was nothing too crazy. Warm-ups, one offense drill with a couple variations and a small sided game. Beckford was probably most impressive, but a small sided scrimmage is where he would thrive. Distin and a few others had trouble with the heat. Props go to Leighton Baines. If you didn't know any better you'd think he was a young kid trying to make an impression on the coaches. He went through every drill at full speed while a lot of the more veteran players took water and stretch breaks and did other stuff. He did not slow down despite the heat.
Oh, and Arteta came out in a walking boot and crutches, not looking good.
The best part about the practice was that all the players and Moyes came over to the fans and signed autographs and took pictures. It was definitely a great way to show thanks for all fans that braved the heat. I know the last thing you want to do after a hot practice is go talk to people you don't know. Much appreciated. Now I'm too mature for that fanboy autograph shit, but I did get some nice pictures. Check them out below with a few player observations.
Game - The game was fun. The upper bowl at RFK was not open. I'd say about 12,000 fans, but that might be generous. Both teams mixed their squads with reserves and starters. Everton scoring twice in the first 15 minutes really made things easy for Everton, but also lacking drama. Everton weren't great, but totally moved the ball better than DC. They had a lot of chances, but DC had some good outside shots too, but it's really hard to glean the big picture from this game. Instead, let's look at a few individual players performances.
Ross Barkley - I didn't know who this guy was at the practice. He is big, like Rodwell, not as strong yet, but tall, more like a defender than midfielder. He got the start on Saturday and looked good - not great, but good. Like most young guys, he worked hard and was trying to do all he could. Best part, only 17 years old. We got to keep this young Liverpool born talent.
Apostolos Vellios - This 19 year old Greek striker might be my new favorite player, mostly because the great picture above, but also due to his strong potential. He was the first player I got a picture with and seemed a nice humble guy, happy to be there. He too got the start Saturday and looked good. He seems to be the strong target man the Everton are lacking. He showed for the ball a lot, showed good control and touches and game IQ. I'd love to see him up top with Saha or Beckford. But will Moyes do that?
Victor Anichebe - Man, this guy is a BEAST in person. Ridiculously strong, maybe too strong for soccer. He scored a nice goal, but still has a few injuries. Pre-season will be big for him. Oh, and he much better at looking at the camera than me.
Conor McAleny - This was another guy I did not know before the weekend. He was probably the most eye-catching at the practice. He worked his ass off and was very crisp. Some are comparing him to Michael Owen. We'll see. Again, though very young and full of promise.
Tim Cahill - Timmy likes the heat. Oh yeah, Timmy's ready! Timmy's got some new moves. He's an Aussie. Tim played much deeper than he usually does, but he said the summer is all about fitness.
Magaye Gueye - Magaye was my new favorite player coming into the weekend, but that spot might be usurped by Vellios due to the pic. Magaye will soon be a stud, though. He has pace and skill. He can play as a second striker, on the left wing or the right wing, all spots we will need people this year. The heat looked a bit much for him, but he did get his 3rd goal in 3 games this summer, which is a huge positive. On the goal in the game, what was most impressive was his great pass to set up Beckford. Excited for more!
Sylvain Distin - A mountain of a man. He was not a fan of the heat, but a beast on the field against DC. Distin!
Jermaine Beckford - Strong in practice, but only got about 20 minutes in the game. I am not sold on this guy. At least twice he took a shot from outside the box when he had open players on his flanks. A nice setup for Magaye, though He is going to have to show better decision making if he is going to become a starter under Moyes.
There you go, just the mostly meaningless preseason, I hope Everton had as good a time in DC as I did. Let's hope it actually contributes to a strong start this season! C'mon you Boys!