Everton Under-18s were edged out by the solitary goal in their Dallas Cup opener against Mexican side Tigres.
The decisive strike was scored after just a quarter of an hour from powerful forward Luis Cruz.
Everton were in the game throughout, even after defender Josef Yarney was sent off early in the second half.
The Young Blues could easily have claimed a draw had a couple of late chances, the best of which fell to Nathan Broadhead, been converted.
Tigres went ahead when striker Cruz got on the end of a ball over the top on 14 minutes, rounded goalkeeper Ben Pierce and slotted into the unguarded net.
The Young Blues forced a number of corners during the opening 45 minutes, all delivered dangerously by forward Broadhead.
Indeed, Everton’s best chance prior to the interval came about when Tigres failed to properly clear a cross, leaving midfielder Ryan Harrington to prod wide following a mini-scramble.
Pierce was then twice called upon to prevent Tigres from going further ahead. First he did well to get down to his left when Cruz again found himself in on goal and later on in the half he had to stretch high to keep out another effort from the striker.
And in stoppage time another lofted effort, this time from Fernando Mayor, skimmed the bar.
After the restart, Everton enjoyed an encouraging period of possession, but the Toffees had to play the majority of the second half with 10 men when Yarney was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Damian Torres.
James Yates made a superb last-ditch challenge to keep the score at 1-0 on 65 minutes, but despite the numerical disadvantage, Everton heads didn’t drop.
Delial Brewster used his physical presence to lead the line with good effect and it was from his hard work, the Young Blues very nearly conjured an equaliser with a quarter of an hour remaining.
The Southport-born striker played a precise ball in from the left to Broadhead, who was denied by a fine sprawling save from Mexican stopper Sergio Silva just a few yards out.
Everton went agonisingly close again right at the death when Broadhead whipped over a corner that evaded everyone inside the six-yard box.
It proved to be the last chance for the Toffees, who must raise themselves for their second game of the tournament against Japanese outfit Kyoto Sanga in just 24 hours’ time.
Pierce, Yates, Lees, Yarney, Mellen, Baningime, Harrington, Kiersey, Morris (Denny 85), Broadhead, Brewster. (Subs not used: Johnson, Moore, Corke, Virtanen).