James Tarkowski played his first football for Everton and there were outings for a number of Academy products as Frank Lampard’s side played their opening pre-season game against Arsenal in Baltimore.
Everton trailed 2-0 at half-time – Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka both on target inside three minutes just past the half hour – when manager Lampard changed his entire starting XI.
Centre-half Tarkowski, signed from Burnley this month, was joined on the field by Jean-Philippe Gbamin, who finished last season on loan with Russian club CSKA Moscow.
Also introduced were goalkeeper Billy Crellin and the young trio of Reece Welch, Lewis Warrington and the combative Stanley Mills.
Arsenal made sweeping changes, too, and a game that was contested at a brisk pace for the opening 45 minutes lost a measure of its edge and flow.
As an extension of an unforgiving week’s training in broiling Washington DC this was a very useful exercise, nonetheless. And Everton have another chance for match practice when they meet MLS team Minnesota United on Wednesday.
Arsenal opened clear ground between themselves and their fellow Premier League team during a burst of first-half activity.
Jesus, a constant pest at the tip of Arsenal’s attack, was responsible for Everton falling behind.
The goal stemmed from a corner on the Gunners’ left – the same source of the game’s first clear opportunity, when Granit Xhaka met Cedric Soares’ 16th-minute delivery with a header that crashed into the far post.
Cedric’s next set-piece went longer, evading Jordan Pickford and a clutch of Everton bodies congregated in the middle of the box.
Jesus’ cushioned touch to control at the back post was excellent; the finish, lifted deliberately into the roof of the net, equally accomplished.
Pickford had denied Jesus on the quarter-hour, the Brazilian centre-forward signed this summer from Manchester City collecting a loose ball 18 yards out but thwarted by an excellent save down to the keeper’s left.
There wasn’t a whole lot Pickford could do, however, when Arsenal doubled their advantage in quick time after Jesus’ goal.
Jesus was to the fore, once more, advancing to the edge of the penalty area to prod a pass that Gabriel Martinelli failed to gather in front of goal.
Martinelli missing his touch worked in Arsenal’s favour, with Saka arriving at the back post to apply a simple finish.
Everton were spending extended periods in their own half. But there was thrust from midfield in the form of Abdoulaye Doucoure, while the sharp-looking Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s hold-up play was excellent. More than once, Arsenal defenders struggled to get to grips with Calvert-Lewin’s speed and physicality.
Doucoure appeared most likely to disturb Arsenal’s rhythm and one run through the middle of the pitch ended with a ball dropped over the head of centre-back William Saliba. Calvert-Lewin controlled on his chest but Cedric needed only a momentary sight of the ball to steal in and intervene.
Perhaps inspired by his midfield partner, Tom Davies opened up Arsenal’s right side with a tremendous, lofted ball for Niels Nkounkou, speeding behind Cedric.
Nkounkou, back at Everton following a season on loan with Standard Liege in Belgium, aimed for the near post but Matt Turner’s hand was strong.
Arsenal had glimmers of opportunities either side of their quickfire double strike.
Pickford and Yerry Mina combined to deal with a cross to the near post after Saka injected a turn of pace to scoot down the right and deliver.
On 40 minutes, Nuno Tavares’ blast from distance raced wide on the angle
Martin Odegaard, Arsenal’s captain, was too high with a free-kick after Ben Godfrey went into the book for a challenge on Jesus, who in archetypal pre-season fashion duly cramped up.
Lampard made his wholesale substitutions and almost immediately watched Everton come close to an audacious goal.
Salomon Rondon wasn’t far inside Arsenal’s half when he tried to catch out goalkeeper Turner, who frantically recovered to make an ungainly stop and avoid embarrassment.
Mills pinched possession on the right side of the penalty area soon after, the wing-back feeding Alex Iwobi, who was off target with his effort.
Anthony Gordon, sporting his number 10 jersey for the first time, buzzed about for the new-look Everton side, which was limiting Arsenal opportunities and enjoying a decent share of possession.
Tarkowski applied a characteristic block when Martinelli progressed into the box for a shot. The defender similarly got in the way of Reiss Nelson’s low, goalbound attempt on 78 minutes.
Gordon cracked a 90th-minute free-kick into the defensive wall after Pablo Mari was penalised for upending Iwobi and when Warrington rifled over after taking on a shot from range Everton's hopes of troubling the scorers were extinguished.
There remained time for a coming together between the teams after Nicolas Pepe took issue with Mills, who forcibly stood his ground. Tarkowski was swiftly over to stick up for his 18-year-old colleague and the Club's new defender ended the game with a booking that looked rather harsh following a strong tackle on Albert Sambi Lokonga.
Everton First Half: Pickford (c); Patterson, Holgate, Mina, Godfrey, Nkounkou; Gray, Doucoure, Davies, Dele; Calvert-Lewin.
Everton Second Half: Crellin; Mills, Tarkowski, Keane, Welch, Mykolenko; Iwobi, Warrington, Gbamin, Gordon; Rondon.