Sounders Insider

Everton wins on PKs, as Howard stops Ljungberg

Even five PKs weren't enough. But on the sixth, Tim Howard reached back to tap away the shot by Freddie Ljungberg, giving Everton the win. It's the first MLS loss after five wins in this All-Star format.

Howard was honored as MVP.

Apparently no coaches or players we spoke to after the game knew about the Ljungberg situation (see post above) as the coach Dominic Kinnear spoke purely about the game and his team's effort, and Kasey Keller spoke mostly about having had a good time, and the pure oddity of leaving a game and then subbing back in -- which is quite common in the Federal Way over-40 league, but apparently less so in international competition.

Some of those quotes:

KINNEAR overview: "It took us a while to get going. I think in the first 10 or 15 minutes we were a bit nervous. But I think we settled down and played some good stuff. … We had some good chances in the second half taken away by the post and Tim Howard's play."

KELLER on Howard:

"Tim was great. He made a couple of key saves and he obviously made a couple of good penalty saves. Tim was solid, and that's nothing more than to be expected."

KELLER on subbing back in, and going to penalty kicks:

"That was a little interesting. It was the first time I've started and subbed back in in the same game in a while. It was a fun game. … I thought for the majority of the game we were the better team. We had our chances to win the game. … Penalties are penalties. Why we went to penalties, I don't know."

KELLER on his first All-Star game as compared to other competitions: "I would say probably similar to the Chelsea game where both teams took it seriously and they did well, but at the same time you can never replicate a game that matters."

The Sounders will return to league play Sunday at San Jose.

Keller back in: Kasey Keller has returned to the game in the 62nd minute. And Jhon Kennedy Hurtado has made his debut.

Attendance: 20,124, largest crowd ever at Rio Tinto, which lists capacity at 20,008.

Start of second half: Thornton in goal for MLS, Howard remains for Everton.

Landon Donovan has replaced Montero. Ljungberg remains in.

Hurtado warming up, but not yet in.

Halftime: Entertaining game. I thought Everton had the better of it early, but MLS became dangerous late. Tim Howard was forced into a couple of solid saves, one on a header by Conor Casey, the other on a sizzling low shot to the far post by Montero.

Ljungberg has had some nice runs. Keller had no chance on the goal, but has been solid otherwise.

MLS leads in shots, 11-5; and shots on goal, 5-3.

Montero having ankle tended: Sounders leading scorer Fredy Montero briefly came off the pitch to have his left ankle tended to. However, Sigi can start breathing again as he has now gone back onto the pitch.

26th minute: Strong turn in the area by Conor Casey, who rolled it across the goal mouth where it was sort of awkwardly touched on (or dummied or just whiffed) by Holden and then knocked into the open far side by Brad Davis. 1-1.

12th minute: A Stuart Holden pass in front of his own goal was picked off by Louis Saha who beat Keller one-on-one.

Kickoff: Here we go.

For JoePublic: Everton in all white. MLS is medium blue jerseys with black (or navy) trim and black (or navy) shorts. The jersey sponsor is ATT, which commissioner Don Garber just announced has signed the largest marketing deal in MLS history.

We'll get a result: If the game is tied at the end of regulation, we'll go directly to penalty kicks.

Captains: We have just received word that Freddie Ljungberg is the MLS captain. Phil Neville is captain for the Toffees.

Lineups: We just received the starting lineups. Kasey Keller, Freddy Ljungberg and Fredy Montero will start for MLS. Tim Howard will start for Everton.

Here's the MLS lineup: GK Keller; D Cameron, Marshall, Conde; M Holden, Beckerman, Ljungberg, Davis; F Montero, Casey, Blanco. (Montero, Casey, Blanco ... wow, this really is an all-star game.)

For Everton: GK Howard; D Hibbert, Lescott, Yobo; Baines; M Cahill, Fellaini, Neville; Rodwell, Osman; F Sasa.

So, a 3-4-3 vs. a 4-5-1.

Commissioner speaks: We just got a few minutes with commissioner Don Garber. No huge breaking kind of news, but it was an interesting enough update on the state of the league.

He said the league will likely continue to expand to 20 teams, and then pause and let those franchises establish themselves. He said he'd like to get into the Southeast, but it seems markets trump region for now. He said the league has good reasons -- he mentioned weather, but also probably the NFL -- for not going to the international soccer season as FIFA would like. He said the big crowds at this summer's international matches has gotten the attention of the league but probably not to the extext that there will be any significant jump in the salary cap.

Pregame: After a morning of confortable cloud cover, we now have a pure sunshiny sky above Rio Tinto Stadium. It's quite warm -- although not by Puget Sound standards apparently, and probably not enough to affect a game with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff (Mountain time) and plenty of subs.

The game is sold out, so the officials have been encouraging fans to arrive early. To give them something to do before the gates open, there is a fan festival outside the stadium with lots of booths mostly from MLS sponsors: Xbox, Glidden, Volkswagon, Best Buy, etc.

While wandering, I saw someone in a Philadelphia Union T-shirt. Haven't seen any Sounderswear yet.

We're supposed to get a press conference with MLS commissioner Don Garber at 6:30. I'll pop back in if there's any news out of that. And then normal gameday blogging with pregame news, lineups, updates through the game, and then postgame notes and quotes with emphasis on the local boys.