The Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer will play a friendly against Crystal Palace of the English Premier League on Wednesday night. This is will be a warmup for Crystal Palace as they begin their second consecutive year in the top-flight division in England. This is the fourth year in a row that the Crew will face a team from England; three of the four from the Premier League. Wigan Athletic had just been relegated to the League Championship in the season prior to their American tour.
Crystal Palace finished 11th in their first year while putting on an impressive campaign. With many people doubting the success of this club, the critics soon began to hush when notable wins came from the Eagles. Wins against Chelsea, Everton and a draw against Liverpool helped Tony Pulis put his team on the Premier League map. He is familiar with Columbus since he was the coach at Stoke City in 2012 when the Potters visited Columbus during that summer.
The Eagles will visit the Sons of Ben and Philadelphia Union on Saturday before finishing up their pre-season USA tour with a match next Tuesday at City Stadium against the Richmond Kickers of USL Pro.
As mentioned before, this will be the fourth year the Columbus Crew has faced an English side. In 2011 they hosted Newcastle United, Stoke City in 2012 and in 2013 the FA Cup champions Wigan Athletic. Here is a look at how those friendlies ended up.
2011: Columbus Crew 0-3 Newcastle United
2012: Columbus Crew 2-1 Stoke City
2013: Columbus Crew 1-2 Wigan Athletic
Columbus head coach Gregg Berhalter looks to play his reserve squad, with a splash of starters here and there in the second half. He could possibly just switch up the whole starting eleven after halftime. The guys who haven't gotten much playing time this season with the Crew, will be looking forward to seeing green grass tomorrow night.
Prediction: No points are on the line. Just a pickup in front of a few thousand fans. The writer sees Columbus winning 2-0.