Game: Philadelphia Union vs. Crystal Palace FC
Date: Wednesday, July 13th
Time: 7:00 PM Eastern (12:00 AM BST)
Venue: Talen Energy Stadium
Streaming: Crystal Palace Website (free registration required)
All-time record: Crystal Palace won the last meeting 1-0 in 2014.
Midseason friendlies are always tough to predict in terms of lineups and formations. Will the Union look to experiment with new tactics and formations? Probably not. Will Jim Curtin mix up the lineup and give some of the bench guys and Bethlehem Steel regulars a look against a Crystal Palace team whose 2015-16 season mirrored that of the Union? Probably. Look for guys like Andre Blake, Keegan Rosenberry, Ilsinho, etc. to get the afternoon off while guys like Leo Fernandes, Eric Ayuk, Ray Gaddis, etc. get some playing time.
Palace on the other hand is looking to get some playing time in against live opposition. Philadelphia is the first stop of their North American preseason tour, as they play FC Cincinnati on the 16th and the Vancouver Whitecaps on the 19th before heading back to Europe. While Crystal Palace avoided relegation from the Premier League by just 5 points, they were the runners-up in the English domestic FA Cup, losing on a 110th minute goal by Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard. While regulars like Yohan Cabaye, Wilfried Zaha, and captain Mile Jedniak will be pairing up with newcomers Steve Mandanda, James Tomkins, and Andros Townsend, manager Alan Pardew said in yesterday’s press conference that since it was the first game of the year not to expect his first team to get many minutes. Expect Pardew to look to his bench early and often. The bench includes some exciting prospects mentioned specifically by Pardew in the press conference in Sullay Kaikai, who spent last season mostly on loan at Shrewsbury Town.
Seeing depth guys get minutes is always fun, but the main goal here is that no one picks up an injury. The last thing either side wants is someone going down in meaningless friendly.