It was heart-breaking. It was disappointing. It was tough to swallow. But despite the 2-1 loss, Everton's performance in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United was also a game in which Toffee supporters around the world could say they were proud of their team, which is not a familiar feeling this season.
The first half saw the Red Devils keep almost 60 percent of the possession while peppering Joel Robles in goal with shot after shot. Eventually, they broke through. It was former Blue Marouane Fellaini who did the damage. He received a pass from Anthony Martial in the middle of the box and chipped it into the back of the net.
Meanwhile, Everton was fighting to keep it's collective head above water. Mo Besic struggled at right-back against Martial and Marcus Rashford. Darron Gibson, who rarely sees time with the first team, was doing what he could, but he is no Gareth Barry. And Ross Barkley looked out of sorts early on.
If we are honest with ourselves, Everton was lucky to only be down one goal heading into the locker room for half time. Fellaini had a dominating first 45 minutes. And Robles was a brick wall for the Blues.
The second half saw the Toffees come out on fire. They controlled the pace of the game. Barkley re-asserted himself. John Stones was making sliding blocks on defense while dribbling high up the field with the ball on the offensive end. It was actually fun football to watch!
In the 60th minute, Barkley gave the Blues their best chance to that point. He was taken down in the box by Timothy Fosu-Mensah. Romelu Lukaku took the penalty kick that followed. Freakin' David De Gea used his strong right hand to keep Everton off the scoreboard. It seemed unlikely that the Blues could rebound from there.
But things really came alive when Gerard Deulofeu was substituted on in place on Aaron Lennon minutes later. Immediately, Geri reverted back to his form from early on in the campaign. He was dribbling past defenders and whipping crosses into Romelu Lukaku. One cross ended up going in, but it was ManU's Chris Smalling who got the final touch. The goal was deserved for Everton, as they had United on the back foot for pretty much the entirety of the second half.
The Toffees kept pushing and looked likely to score again, but it wasn't meant to be. Lukaku had several chances, only to have them blocked or saved. Tom Cleverley put himself into promising positions on two different occasions, but was unable to finish.
Manchester United took advantage of the misses and inevitably broke our hearts. Ander Herrera fed the ball to Martial, who had beaten Stones. From there, Martial just slotted the ball past Robles for the finish in the last minute of stoppage time. Of course.
This game could be the defining moment of the Everton 2015-16 season and going forward. They showed the type of talent and entertaining football they can display with this roster when they use their passion and creativity. It did not turn out perfectly, but it was a respectable showing that few fans will complain about.
It seems likely that manager Roberto Martinez may be fired before next week. But this team didn't seem to be playing for their manager. They played for one another. They played for the badge on their chest. They played for Merseyside. That is all Everton supporter have ever wanted. These men are given a tremendous opportunity to play a sport for a living. If they give 100 percent effort at all times, they will be revered. So, while this season has been a failure, for one day, we can be happy to call Everton "our club".