HALEWOOD, England -- Seated in the Liverpool suburb of Halewood, Finch Farm is a 55-acre state-of-the-art training complex. It also houses Everton, currently one of the Premier League's most innovative and progressive teams when it comes to the use of performance analytics.
Veteran goalkeeper Brad Friedel played his first club game as a professional in 1995. At the time, Andrew Wooten was 6, and Greg Garza was 4. Fast forward to 2012, and all three Americans can look back on this past weekend as a landmark in their careers, no matter how far along each one is.
Manchester United's lead over neighbors Manchester City in the English Premier League was cut to just three points after being held to a 4-4 draw by Everton Sunday.
Some quick thoughts on this weekend's FA Cup semifinal contestants:
On Dec. 19, 2010, Charlie Davies made his triumphant return to Sochaux's first team, a mere 14 months after the well-documented car accident that nearly took his life and claimed the life of another passenger. On the surface, it appeared to be a dream development, but in reality, the personnel decision was a symbolic gesture made by Sochaux's technical staff to award his progress. Davies knew he wasn't going to get on the field against Bordeaux that day, and so did his coaches.
When the NCAA men's basketball tournament takes center stage in about a month, we'll hear plenty usage of the term "blind résumé." It is a comparison method for decision-makers to look at the body of work for teams on the tournament-field bubble without being clouded by predetermined bias linked to a school's name or conference affiliation.
Manchester City reaffirmed their grip on top spot in the English Premier League on Saturday with a 3-0 win over Fulham at the Etihad Stadium.
Darron Gibson's first goal for Everton gave his old team Manchester United a massive boost as English Premier League leaders Manchester City crashed to a 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park on Tuesday.
With the European transfer window back open, there's no better time for the annual tradition of taking inventory of which Americans could be on the move over the next month.
These days, Everton needs Landon Donovan a lot more than the Los Angeles Galaxy captain needs the Premier League club.
It would be easy for Zak Whitbread to look back at the last nine months and think about what could have been.With better-timed good health, the 27-year-old Norwich City center back may already be on his way to the international career that has yet to materialize.
The upset bug made its way around Europe over the weekend, with Mainz beating German power Bayern Munich and Getafe taming the all-mighty Barcelona, but for a few U.S. national team starters, their teams couldn't quite come up with the efforts necessary to stake claims to landmark Thanksgiving weekend victories against top competition.
With the 2011 Major League Soccer season completed and months of inactivity, regeneration and rest on the horizon, U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann's message that MLS-based players need to be maintaining their match and training fitness almost year-round to stay in the mix for national-team consideration has certainly been heard.
The last time Herculez Gomez was on this kind of a run, he ended up with a scoring title and a ticket to South Africa.
The rotating door at the U.S. Soccer infirmary, one that always seems to have high-profile inhabitants, keeps on turning.
Manchester United's perfect start to the English Premier League season came to a halt on Saturday when the defending champions were held to a 1-1 draw at Stoke City.
Five things we learned from Saturday's action in the Barclays Premier League:
Thoughts on the weekend's action in the Barclays Premier League:
Manchester City missed the opportunity to tighten their grip on fourth place in the English Premier League on Saturday as they lost 2-1 to Everton at Goodison Park.
Fernando Torres finally ended his goal drought on Saturday as second-placed Chelsea won to boost the club's hopes of retaining the English Premier League title.
Manchester United extended their lead at the top of the English Premier League to ten points on Saturday after a comfortable 2-0 win over Fulham at Old Trafford.
Everton hit back from going a goal behind to earn a 1-1 home draw with Birmingham City, a result that lifts the visitors out of the bottom three of the Premier League table.
There was a moment in Everton's insipid defeat to Bolton Wanderers three weeks ago when the camera cut to manager David Moyes on the bench. He sat hunched half forward, an expression on his face midway between disgust and resignation. He looked thoroughly fed up, and suddenly the rumors that have been circling around Goodison Park all season made sense. He may or may not be planning to quit in the summer -- only he knows that -- but it would be hard to believe he hasn't at least considered it.
Tim Howard's penchant for stopping penalty kicks and Nicolas Anelka's penchant for missing crucial ones converged Saturday on one fateful FA Cup moment.
Chelsea's attempt to make FA Cup history came to a halt on Saturday when the holders were eliminated from England's top knockout competition in a penalty shootout by Premier League rivals Everton.
Two-time English FA Cup holders Chelsea needed a late goal from substitute Salomon Kalou to stay in the competition Saturday as the Ivorian's 75th-minute goal rescued a 1-1 draw at Everton in their fourth round clash.
Manchester United returned to the top of the Premier League on Sunday after a 0-0 draw against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.
A deflected Mikel Arteta shot secured a late point for Everton in a pulsating English Premier League encounter with Sunderland.
Defending champions Chelsea marched five points clear at the top of the English Premier League on Saturday with a 2-0 victory that left Wolverhampton in the relegation zone.
Upon returning from international duty, only a handful of Americans had successful transitions back into their clubs.
Liverpool's dramatic week ended in disappointment as Everton claimed a 2-0 victory in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on Sunday to leave their rivals second from bottom of the Premier League table.
In the thick of the Anfield soap opera, which has brought to the sports pages of British newspapers the orgy of hairdresser's-chair gossip usually confined to the TV mags, Sunday's Merseyside derby has become a minor subplot. New England Sports Ventures' stop-start and now concluded takeover, Tom Hicks' desperate interventions, anguished supporters' pleas ... the chronic uncertainty of Liverpool's future has left barely a column inch for the soccer.
Sunderland had the better of the chances against Manchester United at the Stadium of Light in the English Premier League on Saturday, but had to settle for a 0-0 draw against the 2009 champions.
Amid plenty of discouraging "Did not play" or "Not in the 18" casualties, there were a few positive firsts last weekend for some U.S. national-team veterans playing overseas.
Everton scored in the last minute of stoppage-time to claim a 3-3 draw against Manchester United in the Premier League at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Wayne Rooney may finally have ended his drought, but his boyhood club can't buy a goal at the moment. Three games into the Premier League season, Everton has scored a single goal and notched a single point. That return amounts to the club's worst start since 1999, but the biggest worry for Everton is that it has been unable to convert possession, often in dangerous areas, into goals.
How Zac MacMath spent his summer vacation:
With the qualifying rounds and draws of the major European competitions in the rear-view mirror, a number of Americans learned their UEFA Champions League or Europa League fates this past week.
With a week left on the Premier League clock, thoughts are starting to turn to the wheeling and dealing that the coming months will bring. Fernando Torres' scowl from the stands at Anfield on Sunday, as he watched his teammates surrender to Chelsea's endeavor, suggested his agent's phone would be buzzing before the weekend was up. The order in which the top six or seven teams finish -- not to mention the World Cup -- will help shape this summer's wish lists, so for now let's consider how the last year's signings have made an impact -- or not.
MANCHESTER, England -- U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard may have joined Everton from Manchester United in 2006, but he still lives in the Manchester area, about 35 miles from Everton's Goodison Park in Liverpool. I took the train out to see Howard on Monday, the day after Everton's 5-1 win over Hull City and five days after the U.S.' 2-1 loss to the Netherlands in Amsterdam.
LIVERPOOL, England -- It was, I have to say, one of the cooler goose-bump moments I have witnessed in a long time. As Landon Donovan took what was probably a goodbye lap after Everton's 5-1 win over Hull City on Sunday, the home fans at Goodison Park stood and cheered the 28-year-old American who came here a European washout and stands ready to depart, just 10 weeks later, as a beloved figure in this soccer-mad town.
Everton dealt a blow to Manchester United's English Premier League title defense with second-half goals from Dan Gosling and Jack Rodwell sealing a 3-1 win.
U.S. star midfielder Landon Donovan has another big English Premier League game for Everton on Saturday against Manchester United (7:45 a.m. ET, ESPN2), which means that it will be one more chance for Donovan to continue his statement-making form during a 10-week offseason loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Chelsea remain top of the English Premier League, despite suffering a shock 2-1 defeat at Everton on a Wednesday night filled with high drama.
Manchester United returned to the top of English Premier League with a 5-0 crushing of crisis club Portsmouth on Saturday, while Liverpool kept their Champions League bid on track with a 1-0 victory in the derby against Everton.
By nearly all accounts, Landon Donovan was a hit in his English Premier League debut last weekend. The all-time U.S. national team's scoring leader played 68 solid minutes for Everton and served up the corner kick that lead to the Toffees' first goal in their 2-2 draw with Arsenal.
Title hopefuls Manchester United and Arsenal were both held to draws on Saturday as Chelsea retained their English Premier League lead despite being snowed out of action.
United States captain Landon Donovan is poised for a January switch to Everton after the English Premier League club confirmed talks were underway about a loan move.
Everton scored twice late on and goalkeeper Tim Howard saved an injury-time penalty as they fought back to secure a 2-2 Premier League home draw with Tottenham on Sunday.
Portuguese giants Benfica and English Premier League side Everton booked their places in the knockout stage of the Europa League as Serie A side Lazio crashed out of the competition on Wednesday.
English Premier League side Everton are pondering proposing a ground share with city rivals Liverpool following the rejection of plans for their own 50,000 stadium.
Benfica crushed injury-hit Everton 5-0 to end the English club's perfect record in Group I of the Europa League on Thursday night.
The U.S. has produced some world-class goalkeepers over the years, none more accomplished than Brad Friedel and Kasey Keller, two ageless lions who are still prowling the pipes at, respectively, Aston Villa and Seattle. But if there's one American who reminds me the most of Hatch, the fearless Allied keeper played by Sylvester Stallone in Victory, it's Tim Howard.
Damien Duff produced a moment of magic as Fulham fought back from going a goal behind to defeat Everton 2-1 in the Premier League on Sunday.
Everton have confirmed the signing of Russia midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov from Lokomotiv Moscow for an undisclosed fee.
Manchester City's expensively-assembled team began their English Premier League campaign with a 2-0 win at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, while Arsenal crushed Everton 6-1 in the late kick-off.
The future of England international Joleon Lescott should become much clearer in the next 48 hours after Premier League side Everton turned down the central defender's transfer request.
Awaking from our slumber after one of those tedious biennial summers without a showpiece international tournament, it slowly dawned on us: the Premier League is back at last! With only one week before the world's pre-eminent league kicks off, we headed for Castle Limey to dust down the dungeon-sized supercomputer responsible for our EPL predictions.
Switzerland defender Philippe Senderos is in talks to leave Arsenal and join English Premier League rivals Everton, according to the Liverpool-based side.
There's cigar smoke and perfume in the evening air as the thronging masses head to Castle Limey for our annual awards ceremony. Only one man is headed the other way: a winking, temperamental, petulant, prima donna flagging down a lift to Madrid. Are you sitting comfortably now, the chilled Taittinger bubbling to perfection? Team Limey takes the stage.
Chelsea recovered from falling behind to the fastest goal in FA Cup final history to beat Everton 2-1 at Wembley on Saturday in coach Guus Hiddink's final game in charge of the English club.
Everton goes into Saturday's FA Cup final as underdogs riding on a high. After claiming the scalps of two "Big Four" teams -- Manchester United and Liverpool -- en route to the final, it clinched fifth place in the Premier League for the second year running.
Manchester United's quintuple bid ended with defeat by Everton in a penalty shootout at Wembley in their FA Cup semifinal on Sunday.
Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry converted a controversial penalty as Martin O'Neill's side recovered from 2-0 and 3-1 down to draw 3-3 with Everton and remain just ahead of their Premier League rivals in fifth position in the table.
Everton defenders Tony Hibbert and Joseph Yobo are winning their battles to be fit for their FA Cup semifinal against Manchester United at Wembley next month.
Quintuple-chasing Manchester United and big rivals Chelsea remain on course for an FA Cup final showdown after they were drawn apart in Sunday's semifinal pairings.
Everton's injury crisis deepened on Monday as influential midfielder Mikel Arteta was ruled out for the rest of the season after rupturing a cruciate ligament in his right knee.
Manchester United safely secured their passage through to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup with a comfortable 4-1 victory at Championship side Derby County.
The English Football Association (FA) is demanding answers from a broadcaster after a key goal in a major cup clash was missed because of an advertisement break.
Everton teenage substitute Dan Gosling struck with two minutes left of extra time to sink 10-man Merseyside rivals Liverpool in their FA Cup fourth round replay at Goodison Park.
Australian Tim Cahill dealt Liverpool a desperate and potentially damaging blow with the goal that salvaged a 1-1 draw for bitter rivals Everton and stopped the Reds returning to the top of the Premier League.
Merseyside rivals Liverpool and Everton have been drawn together in the fourth round of the English FA Cup with the tie set for Anfield on the weekend of 24-25 January.
England captain John Terry was sent off for a late tackle in the first-half, as 10-man Chelsea drew 0-0 at Everton, losing their 100 per cent Premier League away record in the process.
Henri Camara scored his first Premier League goal in almost two years, as Wigan beat Everton 1-0 at the JJB Stadium.
Everton held Manchester United to a 1-1 draw Saturday in another setback for the defending champions as they attempt to catch early season pacesetters Chelsea and Liverpool.
Premier League Everton revealed on Tuesday the club record signing of Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini on a five-year deal from Standard Liege.
Manchester United striker Louis Saha has joined Premier League rivals Everton for an undisclosed fee on a two-year deal.
Everton look set to make their first signing since the end of last season after agreeing a deal with Denmark defender Lars Christian Jacobsen on Monday.
England international defender Phil Neville has signed a new four-year contract with Premier League club Everton.
Everton and Aston Villa shared a pulsating 2-2 draw as the race to reach the UEFA Cup looks set to go to the wire after a dramatic Goodison Park showdown between the fifth and sixth-placed clubs in the Premier League.
UEFA Cup hopefuls Everton tied up the permanent signing of South Africa midfielder Steven Pienaar on Tuesday.
Michael Essien kept Chelsea's title dreams alive as Everton's hopes of finishing in the top four -- and grabbing a Champions League slot -- all but disappeared with a 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park.
Everton's bid for a Champions League place suffered a setback as relegation-threatened Birmingham salvaged a late point at St Andrews through Mauro Zarate's 83rd minute equalizer.
Police are to speak to Liverpool and Everton about alleged incidents in Sunday's acrimonious Merseyside derby between the two sides.
Liverpool delivered a vital blow in the battle for fourth place in England's Premier League with a 1-0 victory over city rivals Everton on Sunday.
Everton are now two points behind city rivals Liverpool in the race for the fourth Champions League place in the Premier League after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to West Ham.
Coach Juande Ramos' dream of a UEFA Cup hat-trick ended as Tottenham suffered European heartbreak 6-5 on penalties against PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands.
Ayegbeni Yakubu took his tally for the season to 16 goals as Everton triumphed 2-0 at Manchester City to go fourth in the Premier League above Merseyside rivals Liverpool.
Everton celebrated a club record sixth straight victory in Europe when they beat Brann Bergen 2-0 in their UEFA Cup last 32 first leg tie on a bitterly cold night in Norway.
Nigerian striker Aiyegbeni Yakubu will return to the Everton squad for their UEFA Cup tie against Norwegians SK Brann on Wednesday.
Two goals in three minutes just before half-time enabled Everton to win 2-1 at Wigan and move into the top four in the English Premier League on Sunday.
Shaun Wright-Phillips pushed his England claims in front of new national coach Fabio Capello by inspiring 10-man Chelsea to a dramatic 2-1 Carling Cup semifinal first leg home win over Everton.
Gary McDonald provided one of the big shocks of the third round of the FA Cup with a 25-yard matchwinner as Oldham Athletic of the third flight in English football rocked Premier League Everton 1-0 at Goodison Park.
Arsenal returned to the top of the English Premier League with a 4-1 victory away to Everton in Saturday's late match as both sides finished the game with 10 men.
Two-goal Cristiano Ronaldo fired a late penalty as Manchester United ended Everton's resistance with a 2-1 triumph to move back to within a point of Premier League leaders Arsenal.
Everton cemented their place in the last 32 of the UEFA Cup with a superb 3-2 Group A victory at AZ Alkmaar, ending the Dutch club's proud unbeaten home record in Europe that stretched back over 32 matches.
Ayegbeni Yakubu pounced on a defensive howler two minutes from time to book Everton a place in their first English League Cup semifinal since 1988 with a 2-1 victory at Premier League rivals West Ham.
Tim Cahill sent Everton into the last 32 of the UEFA Cup as Group A winners on Wednesday when his late goal finally unlocked unlucky 10-man Zenit St Petersburg at Goodison Park.
Former Everton manager Howard Kendall has emerged as a surprise contender for the vacant job as Republic of Ireland coach.
Loading weather data ...