Everton vs. Manchester United (Matchday Commentary)

Everton vs. Manchester United (Matchday Commentary)

Americans Abroad

Everton vs. Manchester United (Matchday Commentary)

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EvertonLogoManchesterUnitedLogo 
  
The newly-adopted favorite team of many U.S. national team fans takes the field today against one of the best teams in the world as Everton faces Manchester United at Goodison Park (7:45am, ESPN2).

The match will be Landon Donovan's first against Manchester United, as well as Tim Howard's latest encounter with his former club. The Toffees will try and slow down the seemingly unstoppable Wayne Rooney while Donovan looks to build on his stellar performance vs. Chelsea last week.

I will be providing commentary throughout the match so please feel free to follow along here. As always, you are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action.

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FINAL– Up next for Everton? The return leg against Sporting Lisbon in Portugal.

That's all for me. Thanks for following along this morning. Feel free to share your post-game thoughts below, and look out for our Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary post covering the rest of today's action.

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FINAL– Everton 3, Manchester United 1.

Who needs Rooney? Everton has some truly impressive kids who both stepped up to deliver clutch goals.

No Tim Cahill? No Marouane Fellaini? No problem. The Toffees still find a way to win.

How smart is David Moyes?

Landon Donovan with another strong performance against a top team. He really needs to stay in England. Hopefully that can happen.

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92nd minute– Admit it, when you saw the schedule Landon Donovan would be playing while with Everton you thought he'd be facing more losses than wins. Now we're seeing wins against Chelsea and Man United back-to-back. Just amazing.

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91st minute– Rodwell runs onto an Arteta pass near midfield, dribbles at Evans, turns him to his right and sends a hard shot past Van Der Sar to the back post. What a goal from the kid. He's only 18 folks. Star in the making.

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90th minute- GOAL EVERTON!!!!!!! And it's JACK RODWELL with a BEAUTIFUL GOAL. WOW.

EVERTON 3, United 1.

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89th minute– How many minutes of added time? Seven? Eight? I'm kidding, but you never know with Sir Alex.

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88th minute– Jack Rodwell comes in for Steven Pienaar.

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88th minute– Rooney WIDE!! He tried to curl it into the top corner but the wall gets a head on it. United corner.

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87th minute– Rooney draws a free kick on a foul by Osman. It's about 28 yards out, above the arc. Dangerous spot. Howard will be tested here.

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83rd minute– United corner. Rooney sends it in and another corner. Why is Rooney taking a corner?

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82nd minute– Does a lead ever feel safe against Manchester United? Ever?

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81st minute– Michael Owen is in for Valencia. Everton fans give Owen a war ex-Liverpool legend welcome.

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79th minute– Here comes Everton again, and Donovan finds Pienaar, who finds Arteta, but Arteta swings and misses on an open look. Donovan is playing very well this half.

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78th minute– Donovan deserves his share of credit for setting up Pienaar on the goal. He worked a great give-and-go the sprung Pienaar for the open look on the assist.

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76th minute- GOAL EVERTON!!!!! And it's Dan Gosling with the FINISH. Pienaar with the ball to the penalty spot and Gosling finishes. Donovan with the pass to find Pienaar on the flank.

EVERTON 2, MANCHESTER UNITED 1. WOW.

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74th minute– I'll never understand why Donovan doesn't take every Everton corner. His corners have been simply better than his teammates, but we still see Baines and Arteta taking them.

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73rd minute– Arteta's corner is cleared. Donovan puts in a good ball but Gosling can't get a head to it. Everton looking better now.

Donovan tries to dribble through the United defense but loses it. Teammates recover but United eventually start a counter.

Pienaar with a yellow card.

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72nd minute– Everton corner.

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70th minute– Dan Gosling comes in for Bilyaletdinov.

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69th minute– Match has lost its shape as neither side is controlling the action.

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67th minute– Donovan does well to stay with Valencia defensively, forcing him to give it up.

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66th minute– Berbatov and Park come off for Scholes and Obertan.

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64th minute– Scholes and Obertan coming in for United.

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61st minute– Saha with a nice move to free himself, but shanks the shot from 20.

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58th minute– A big problem for Everton today is lack of bench options. Missing Cahill and Fellaini will be felt this half. Yakubu is one option, while Rodwell could also get a look this half.

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56th minute– Donovan with a good touch to force a turnover and start a counter. He just made a LONG run before giving the ball up to a teammate. United's defense does well to contain him.

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55th minute– Rooney chips a pass into the area that Berbatov heads wide.

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53rd minute– Bit of a sloppy start for both sides this half.

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51st minute– Fletcher has a go from the arc, but sends it just wide.

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48th minute– Baines skies the free kick. Need better there.

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47th minute– Osman draws a foul and Everton has a great free kick look from 26 yards out.

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46th minute– We're back.

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HALFTIME– If you're up and following the commentary, let me know in the comments section (and let me know where you're watching from). 

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HALFTIME– Everton 1, Manchester United 1.

Pretty even match, Everton matching United's quality with their own energy and fight. You have to give the Toffees credit for being tied and playing well despite not having Tim Cahill or Marouane Fellaini.

As for Donovan, he's playing better than he did vs. Sporting Lisbon, but that quick chance he missed is going to haunt him. 

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44th minute– Donovan with a nice trap of a Howard kick, and has Rooney kick it clear.

Some great energy from Everton today, particularly the past 15 minutes.

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42nd minute– Watched another replay of the Donovan miss and the ball looked to hit Brown's arm. That sequence happened pretty quickly so it wasn't exactly a sitter missed by Donovan, but I am willing to bet Berbatov or Rooney buries that.

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40th minute– Donovan wins a header in the United box somewhat surprisingly as Everton finds a good spell of energy.

Neville kills a sequence when he doesn't make the run on a Bily pass.

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38th minute– WOW, Donovan misses a great chance. A Baines cross is chested to his feet by Brown but Donovan rushes his shot and mis-hits it off his shin. Donovan did well to send the ball to Baines on the play, but was definitely surprised by Brown's move. Still, he won't get a better chance.

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37th minute– Donovan with a nice bit of possession, and finds Bily, but Bily beats two defenders only to give it up to Neville rather than shoot on his right foot.

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36th minute– A Baines cross into the six-yard box is caught easily by Van Der Sar.

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34th minute– ESPN announcers discussing how Rooney angered Everton fans by kissing his United badge after scoring a goal. Can we call that "Pulling a Rossi"?

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31st minute– Another United corner dealt with by Everton.

United keeps possession and keeps the pressure on.

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30th minute– United on another break to earn a corner. They definitely look a touch sharper than Everton i possession, but that's not surprising.

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29th minute– I don't think enough American fans respect Park Ji-Sung for what he did for the U.S. team in the 2002 World Cup. If he doesn't score the winner vs. Portugal, USA doesn't advance, there's never Dos a Cero and never that epic quarterfinal match vs. Germany.

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28th minute– Park with a shot that forces a relatively easy save for Howard.

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27th minute– Other players get more headlines, but Leon Osman is a very underrated player. He puts in an honest day's work every match and is very effective seemingly every match.

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25th minute– Wow, Rooney races in on goal, dribbles past Howard, but Neville races in to force him to lose it. Howard did well to run out at Rooney and force a bad touch.

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25th minute– Wow, Bily nearly streaks in for a second goal, but he strikes it high after Saha dummies a Baines cross in low.

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24th minute– Pienaar's shot is blocked by the wall.

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22nd minute– Donovan corner is cleared out. Everton gets the ball back and Pienaar draws a foul about 25 yards from goal, left of the D. 

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21st minute– Everton earns a corner. Great end to end stuff now.

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19th minute- GOAL EVERTON!!!! And it's Bilyaletdinov with a BLAST. Everton 1, United 1.

Bily races onto a loose ball, takes a touch and BLASTS it from 20 yards out. Great goal.

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18th minute– The goal came from a Valencia ball from the wing. Baines gave him some space and Valencia sent it in low and hard. Distin got a foot on it but it still found Berbatov.

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16th minute- GOAL UNITED!!!  And it's Berbatov, who finds a Valencia low cross at his feet before roofing it from close range. United 1, Everton 0.

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16th minute– Corner taken short and finds its way into the area, but United can't get a shot on it.

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15 minute– United earns ANOTHER corner.

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13th minute– Baines' corner went toward Heitinga, who looked to be nudged by Rooney. No call.

Everton starting to find some possession now.

Saha with a good shot from distance to force a Van Der Sar save.

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13th minute– Everton applies some pressure and earns a corner kick.

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11th minute– Corner cleared as United breaks into the area before Fletcher skies a chance from the top of the box.

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10th minute– United moves the ball around with relative ease in the middle of the field.

United earns ANOTHER corner.

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8th minute– Donovan completes a clever back-heel pass to Pienaar, who draws a foul on his subsequent run.

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7th minute– Everton clears it away.

Still not much offensively for the Toffees as the sides feel each other out.

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6th minute– Another United corner.

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5th minute– United's first corner is cleared from danger.

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3rd minute– With Pienaar playing essentially as a central midfielder it looks like a straight 4-5-1 today. Toffees will need the extra man in the middle to try and win the battle against the tough tandem of Carrick and Fletcher.

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3rd minute– Donovan will look to use his speed against Gary Neville, who is not as fast as Patrice Evra is on the left.

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1st minute– We're off and it looks like it's Donovan on the left and Pienaar centrally as a second forward, with Bily on the right flank. Interesting deployment.

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PRE-GAME– The ESPN broadcast is listing Donovan on the right and Pienaar as the second forward. We'll see soon enough where they actually line up.

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PRE-GAME– Landon Donovan will be playing in a different role for Everton today as the injury to Tim Cahill will force David Moyes to move Donovan into a withdrawn forward role behind Louis Saha, Cahill's normal role. The role could be an effective one as Manchester United is without first-choice centerbacks Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

Here is Everton's lineup:

—————————-Saha————————–

Bilyaletdinov———Donovan—————-Pienaar

—————Arteta————–Osman—————

Baines———-Distin——-Heitinga———–Neville

————————-Howard————————-

Here is Manchester United's lineup:

—————Rooney————Berbatov————–

Park———-Carrick———-Fletcher———-Valencia

Evra————-Evans——–Brown————–Neville

———————–Van Der Sar————————–

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