Following their loss to the Philadelphia Union, Everton have finally landed in Washington D.C. to take on D.C United in the final leg of their U.S. tour. Unfortunately some bad news has already arrived for Everton in the form of midfielder Mikel Arteta having to use crutches to get around. No word yet on what his injury is, but Mikel will definitely be missing Saturday's game. Hopefully the injury is minor, and this is merely a precaution, but I have a feeling that his injury is a little more severe.
What: D.C United v. Everton preseason friendly
Where: RFK Stadium
When: Saturday, July 21, 2011 at 7:30 pm EST, 12:30 am BST
TV: In the U.S. the game can be found on Fox Soccer Channel, and reports in England suggest the game will be on ESPN. As with all preseason friendlies you can also find the games on evertonTV.While many suupporters are probably hoping for a bit more exciting match on Saturday after what could only be described as a lackluster match, don't get your hopes up. Saturday temperatures are expected to hit a high of 100 degrees with a heat index of 116, so both sides are going to be sluggish. In addition with the quick turnaround don't be surprised if Moyes rests some of the players that went the distance for Everton on Wednesday. In addition Mikel Arteta is out due to injury, and it would not be surprising to see Tim Howard held out as well after he just returned to training. Hopefully Osman and Fellaini will be able to contribute at least a little after sitting out on Wednesday, otherwise we will probably see a lot of the youngsters play, possibly going the distance as well. As with all friendlies I'm not going to try to predict the lineup as Moyes could do anything this weekend.
Once again the heat is going to be a major factor, none of the players are used to the weather, and in training today it was obvious everyone was just conserving their energy. With Fellaini, Arteta, and Howard all out for the match, and Osman and Anichebe doubtful, this is going to look like another makeshift side, especially with Moyes likely to use a liberal amount of substitutions. A good outcome for Everton would obviously be a win, but also to show some more life than the squad did against the Union.
For Everton everyone wants to see some more of Vellios. The Greek had a good game on Wednesday, and was denied a goal only after a fantastic reaction save. Hopefully he can continue showing Moyes that he deserves a look at first team football come August. In addition to Vellios it will be interesting to see what Moyes decides to do with Coleman. I wouldn't be surprised to see him split time between right back and right mid, as Moyes has stated his desire for Coleman to become a quality right back,
For D.C. United two of the more interesting players to watch are Charlie Davies and Andy Najar. Davies is still in the process of recovering from a horrific car accident in late 2009, and although some of his speed is still missing, the fact he is even here speaks volumes about his ability. This is the perfect type of game for Davies to test himself and see how far he has to go to complete his recovery. The 2009 Charlie Davies would be a threat to Everton's backline with his speed, So Distin and Jagielka will need to make sure they are prepared just in case. Najar is a youngster from D.C. United's academy, and the Honduran has had an impact on the squad. He is most likely destined to play in Europe at some point, and this is the type of game where he could put an excellent performance in to impress the scouts.
With all of the circumstances around Everton in addition to their lackluster play on Wednesday, this game is probably going to end in a draw, and I'll say 1-1 is the score with D.C. United grabbing a late equalizer. I'll be at the stadium tomorrow evening, so if you can't watch the game on tv or online, check back here and we may have a liveblog going once again, COYB!