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Union, Crystal Palace fight to bore draw

No one got hurt, and we saw a few fringe guys get some action. Woohoo!

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

41 players appeared in the Philadelphia Union's friendly versus Crystal Palace on Wednesday night, and not one of them graced us with a goal. That this was a mid-season, mid-week friendly for the Union was evident, and Palace looked very much like a team that just started its preseason.

The first half was largely devoid of chances and competent, attacking soccer, but the Union did come close to goal on a few occasions.

Roland Alberg's outside-of-the-foot cross nearly found CJ Sapong in the 27th minute, but it was deflected out for a corner.

Sapong created the Union's best chance of the game 13 minutes later, when he played a square ball to a streaking Walter Restrepo. The winger had time to pick out a corner, but he ended up blasting his shot over the crossbar.

Though Palace struggled to get any clean looks at goal, they had a few players who were dangerous off the dribble. Recent addition Andros Townsend stood out in particular, as he terrorized Fabinho and Ken Tribbett over the course of the first half.

With the second half came wholesale changes and spells of good play. Matt Jones, who came in for John McCarthy at the break, had work to do, as he faced - and stopped - three vicious shots.

Wilfried Zaha entered the game in the 53rd minute, and though he didn't directly replace Townsend, he did replicate the kind of attacking threat that he presented. Zaha got the better of Gaddis repeatedly over the last 45 minutes, but he, like Townsend, failed to produce the goods.

Notes

  • Jim Curtin ran out some of the guys we don't get to see very often, and they largely impressed. Cole Missimo showed a willingness to take on defenders from the left wing, and even made a Premier Leaguer look silly. Derrick Jones had a couple of penetrating through balls, and Taylor Washington looked energetic in a 45-minute shift at left back.
  • The starting lineup was filled with a good number of regulars even though the New York Red Bulls await on Sunday. Thankfully, no one picked up an injury, but risking starters for drab, meaningless games is always the worst thing about mid-season friendlies.

Post-match Press Conference

Embedded below is Wednesday's post-match press conference, featuring Jim Curtin and Crystal Palace Manager Alan Pardew.