Tim Howard the hero as Everton beat Juventus in San Francisco

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It’s only preseason. But anytime you beat reigning Italian champions Juventus, it must feel pretty good.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez will be pleased as his side sealed a 6-5 win on penalties against Juve following a 1-1 tie in regulation.

Martinez continues his overhaul of the Toffees during their preseason tour of the US, as they compete in the International Champions Cup.

US national team goalkeeper Tim Howard read the script and played the hero at AT&T Park, diving to his left to save Federico Peluso’s penalty kick and hand Everton a match against LA Galaxy or Real Madrid who play in Phoenix this evening.

Back to Everton vs. Juventus, and youngster John Stones was a cheeky chap in the penalty shootout as he coolly completed a ‘Panenka’ penalty made famous by Juventus captain Andrea Pirlo… just after Pirlo had missed his spot kick.

But chipped penalties and Howard’s heroics aside, this was the first real opportunity to see how Martinez could set up Everton this season. And it looks as though a new formation will reign supreme at Goodison Park.

Ladies and gentleman, please welcome, the 3-4-3.

Everton’s new identity and attacking philosophy under Martinez should be in stark contrast to the rigid formations used by David Moyes for much of his time in charge. Martinez often prefers having three at the back and mixes up variations of the 3-5-2 and 3-4-3.

(MORE: Chelsea, Everton, Juventus, Real Madrid and other bring ICC Stateside)

Last night, Everton lined up with Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin and youngster John Stones as the three central defenders. Leighton Baines played on the left of midfield, while Seamus Coleman played on the right. In midfield Darron Gibson and Marouane Fellaini were the central duo with Kevin Mirallas and Steven Pienaar out wide to support Victor Anichebe as the lone front man.

This system is flexible and allows plenty of Everton’s best players to interchange and adopt different roles. For example if Fellaini wants to shift forward and support Anichebe, then either Baines or Coleman can slot into the middle and Pienaar or Mirallas can slot back into a midfield position.

Wigan played creative, exciting and open soccer under Martinez and it seems as though he will continue that mantra in his new job at Everton.

Okay, last night was only a friendly. But we gained plenty of knowledge on how Everton will set up to play in the Premier League this season.

Exciting times and exciting soccer are on the horizon for the Everton faithful.

Tammy Abraham rescues England in Toulon opener

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It took a late finish to nab three points on Sunday, but England’s title defence at the Toulon Tournament is off an running.

[ MORE: Bale brace guides Real Madrid past Liverpool ]

The Three Lions’ Under-21 squad picked up a 2-1 win in their Group A opener against China, after having fallen behind to the Asian nation inside the opening half hour.

England, winners of the last two editions of the competition, conceded in the 20th minute to Yan Dinghao, and went into the halftime break behind 1-0.

Manager Paul Simpson and his side came out strong in the second stanza, though, and found an equalizer five minutes in through Middlesbrough defender Dael Fry‘s header.

It seemed as though England would be destined for a point, however, Tammy Abraham‘s tap-in finish in the 85th minute ensured a crucial victory to open the tournament for the Three Lions.

England will round out Group A with matches against Mexico and Qatar on March 28 and June 1, respectively.

At the Toulon Tournament, the three group winners automatically reach the semifinals, while the best second-place nation also receives a bid into the final four.

Ben Olsen confirms mutual interest from both sides for Wayne Rooney

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As a move to Major League Soccer becomes more of a reality, D.C. United’s manager has confirmed the team’s interest in a legendary Premier League goalscorer.

[ MORE: Armenteros scores twice, as Timbers win sixth straight ]

Following Saturday night’s 1-1 draw with Los Angeles FC, Ben Olsen told media that there is legitimate interest from him and his side in Wayne Rooney, who traveled to the United States earlier in the week to visit Washington D.C. and the club’s new Audi Field.

“There is interest in Wayne Rooney from our end and I think there is interest from his end too,” Olsen said. “I hope it can get over the line because he’s a very good player who can help us. He would be a great player for this league.”

Although ongoing negotiations appear to be progressing in a positive manner, no deal has been struck between D.C. and Rooney’s camp yet, to which Olsen said he and his team have to continue as they have until the Everton forward completes a move.

“Nothing is done, so I don’t want to get into talk of arrival until he actually arrives,” Olsen added.

“Nothing is ever done in this world and when you’re looking at a deal of this scope and size. We’ll see, but hopefully we can get it done.”

Armenteros scores twice, Timbers win 6th straight

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) Samuel Armenteros scored twice and the Portland Timbers extended their franchise-record winning streak to six with a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night.

[ MORE: Techera hat-trick for Whitecaps; Gordon plays hero for Fire ]

Armenteros flicked Sebastian Blanco‘s pass around defender Danny Wilson and then beat him to it for a chip finish that opened the scoring for Portland (6-3-2) in the 29th minute.

Julio Cascante gave one back to Colorado (2-7-2) in the 31st with an own goal on a stab attempt to clear away Edgar Castillo’s cross.

Armenteros made it 2-1 in the 37th minute, heading back Tim Howard‘s attempt to punch away Blanco’s cross.

Diego Valeri settled Blanco’s diagonal cross and slotted one past Howard in the 57th minute to make it 3-1.

Yannick Boli cut Colorado’s deficit to one with a penalty kick in the ninth minute of stoppage time but referee Sorin Stoica blew the final whistle before allowing play to resume.

Colorado has lost six in a row, its longest such streak since losing seven straight in 2014.

MLS: Techera’s hat trick; Gordon the hero (again) for Chicago

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Cristian Techera scored three second-half goals and the Vancouver Whitecaps overcame several defensive errors to tie the New England Revolution 3-3 on Saturday.

Techera completed the hat trick in the 74th minute off a pass from striker Yordy Reyna.

The Whitecaps (4-5-5) are winless in five games and have just one victory in their past nine matches (1-4-4). New England is 5-4-3.

Vancouver trailed 2-0 early in the second half.

Whitecaps defender Aly Ghazal had an own goal and made a poor pass that helped set up a goal by New England’s Teal Bunbury. Another Revolution goal came after defender Sean Franklin mishandled a ball.

Techera made it 2-1 in the 49th minute off a cross from Marcel de Jong. Russell Teibert set up Techera again two minutes later, with Techera scoring on a header after goalkeeper Matt Turner stopped the first shot.

Bunbury gave New England a 3-2 lead in the 59th minute after Ghazal’s weak pass was picked off.

Cristian Penilla also scored for New England.


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Alan Gordon broke a tie in the 82nd minute and the Chicago Fire beat Orlando City 2-1 on Saturday night.

Gordon settled Bastian Schweinsteiger’s cross with a couple of touches at 25 yards from goal and fired a rocket into the upper right corner past goalkeeper Joe Bendik’s outstretched hand.

Chicago’s Mohammed Adams was sent off in the 89th minute for violent conduct, but the Fire (4-6-2) held on from there, including six minutes of stoppage time, to end a two-game losing streak.

Orlando City (6-5-1) has lost three straight after winning six in a row.

Aleksandar Katai gave Chicago the lead on a free kick in the 13th minute.

Cristian Higuita tied it for Orlando City in the 28th minute, slotting a right-footed shot inside the far post after getting sprung free by Chris Mueller’s short pass to the right side of the penalty area.

Patrick McLain had four saves for his first MLS win.