Who: Everton v Porto
What: Pre-Season Friendly #3
When: Sunday, August 3, 2014, 4:00pm UK time, 11:00am EDT
Where: Goodison Park (Liverpool, England)
Weather: Chance of rain, high 72°F (22°C), wind 16 mph, precipitation 40%
TV: None, except for Portuguese stations. However - check evertontv right before kickoff. In the past, the Goodison friendlies have sometimes been added for free at the last minute, presumably to encourage people to purchase tickets beforehand.
Tickets: Info here
With this being Leon Osman's testimonial, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines (his longtime teammates for both club and country) have expressed their desire to play in the match in order to show Ossie their support. However, Jagielka and Baines (and presumably Ross Barkley as well) have only just returned to training this week, so if they do play on Sunday their participation will most likely be minimal. Romelu Lukaku will be presented to the fans as Everton's new record signing and will surely receive a raucous reception from the Goodison faithful, but Roberto Martinez has already confirmed that both he and fellow Belgian Kevin Mirallas will not see actual game action until the final pre-season friendly in Germany. On the other hand, Muhamed Besic is expected to make his debut in an Everton shirt.
It's kind of amazing that Portugal's Primeira Liga has only been won by five clubs since its inception in 1934, with three of those teams (Benfica, Porto, and Sporting) winning 78 of the 80 titles. Porto checks in at second place on the all-time list with 27 titles, trailing only Benfica's 33 championships. However, Porto is coming off a disappointing season in which they finished in third place (essentially last place in Portugal's Big Three 'mini league'), though that was on the heels of an incredible run of seven titles in eight years (and nine titles in eleven years). The club is also known for launching the managerial career of Jose Mourinho, who guided Porto to two league titles and an incredible UEFA Cup/Champions League double from 2002-2004 before moving on to Chelsea.
This summer, Porto has seen a great deal of turnover as they attempt to reclaim the Primeira Liga crown. For starters, they have a new manager in Julen Lopetegui, who has been mostly known for his work with Spain's youth teams to this point. They have also brought in a slew of new players, including five Spaniards and six who previously plied their trade in La Liga. This has led to some speculation that Lopetegui is specifically targeting Spanish recruits because of his own background, though Porto's biggest signing over the summer was Dutch defender and World Cup participant Bruno Martins Indi.
What to Watch For
Obviously, Leon Osman. This is his day and it would be incredibly cool to see him score a goal (though maybe not quite as cool as seeing Tony Hibbert score in his testimonial). For those who are unfamiliar with the British tradition, a testimonial is a noncompetitive match that is played in honor of a player who has been with the team for a long length of time, generally ten years or more. Originally, the primary function of the testimonial was to provide the player with financial support in his retirement years by awarding him all of the proceeds from the match, though as wages have skyrocketed those proceeds are now generally given to charity. Ossie's testimonial will benefit Claire House Children’s Hospice on the Wirral and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Also, Muhamed Besic. Where will Roberto play him, and how will he fit into the team? This match should be our first opportunity to find out.