No excuses from Everton

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:34 PM ET

They started with their two most recognizable names on the bench and looked like a team that had just gotten off an airplane.

Last night English Premier League side Everton struggled to keep pace with River Plate of Argentina, losing 1-0 in an exhibition encounter at Commonwealth Stadium.

Tim Howard and Philip Neville were not in the starting lineup for Everton. Undoubtedly they could have used them, although it's unlikely goalkeeper Howard would have been able to do much about the brilliance of River Plate striker Ariel Ortega.

"It's a disappointing result; I never like losing," said Everton striker Tim Cahill.

"Unfortunately we weren't able to score in the first half. It was tough, especially in the end when you saw them lift that trophy. It would have been nice to get a win here."

Having arrived in town earlier in the day from Seattle, the English side was second-best for most of the night.

Cahill had Everton's best chance early in the contest, but the Australian-born striker was unable to finish off a setup by Brazilian Jo.

Apart from that, last season's FA Cup finalists spent the majority of the first half defending.

In the second half, they had a penalty claim late when Louis Saha appeared to be pulled down in the box, but it was ignored by the referee.

"It's tough to get off a plane and play soccer, but I've done it with Australia," Cahill said.

"We're not going to make any excuses about it. We're athletes, we train very hard to try to be at our peak. I think it could have been a different story if we finished some of our chances."

Neville did make an appearance coming in as a substitute with 21 minutes left in the game, but had little impact in the contest.

River Plate arrived in Edmonton on Thursday and will remain for the rest of the week practising at Millennium Place in Sherwood Park.


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