Everton concluded their pre-season tour of the United States in disastrous circumstances with a 4-0 defeat to MLS side Minnesota United on Wednesday night.
Frank Lampard named a strong starting XI including England internationals Jordan Pickford and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, as well as new signing James Tarkowski.
But despite a promising first 15 minutes in which they controlled possession and tested Loons keeper Dayne St. Clair, it was the Toffees who found themselves behind on 18 minutes. Minnesota United's star playmaker Emanuel Reynoso converted a penalty which he won, gliding past Vitaly Mykolenko before finding the arm of Tom Davies with his cross.
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And from there, it went from bad to worse for Everton. Michael Keane turned the ball into his own net while trying to defend a cross just after the half-hour mark, while four minutes later, Luis Amarilla tapped in from close range following a terrible defensive mix-up.
Lampard made a host of changes at the break and although they did find some stability, Everton didn't exactly improve their situation. Dele Alli inexplicably missed an open net from three yards out, while Minnesota United even added a fourth goal through Abu Danladi in the 77th minute.
Everton legend Adrian Heath, now Minnesota United head coach, was delighted with the display from his MLS outfit, who currently sit fourth in the Western Conference.
“I thought we created a lot of chances this evening," Heath told reporters. "It’s been a really good ending for us, and I was really pleased with some of the younger guys because they get a bit frustrated for not being in the first team, and not being in the first team squad. This was a great opportunity for them tonight and a few of them did really well.”
Lampard, meanwhile, didn't hide his dismay at Everton's performance, warning his players to improve quickly if they wish to avoid a repeat of last season's agonising relegation battle.
"If we don’t want to be in that situation again, they have to be better and I have to be better," he said, adding: "The players in the dressing room need to understand that they’ve put in a very poor performance individually and collectively."
Everton return to England to face Blackpool on Sunday, while Minnesota United travel to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.