The outcome wasn’t the key goal last night for Crew coach Gregg Berhalter. With English Premier League team Crystal Palace at Crew Stadium for an exhibition, both teams treated the unseasonably cool evening as a glorified practice.
And when the Crew and the Eagles tied 2-2 with no major injuries to report, it was mission accomplished for both sides.
“I thought it wasn’t bad,” Berhalter said. “We got to see a lot of guys in action. We gave some guys that hadn’t had much game time a full 90 minutes, and that was positive. A couple good goals. I was pleased overall.”
The Crew took the lead on an Adam Bedell goal in the 15th minute, allowed two goals and drew even in the 80th on a Daniel Paladini header off an Agustin Viana cross that set the final margin. The Crew is 3-4-3 in exhibition games against English teams.
The game was the first of Crystal Palace’s preseason tour that will see the Eagles face Philadelphia on Friday and Richmond of the United Soccer Leagues Pro division on Monday.
Four minutes after Viana’s header glanced off the post, Bedell gave the Crew the early lead. With the Crew pressing, central defender Eric Gehrig drifted wide and lofted a cross from near the sideline. His diagonal service went right to Bedell, who at 6 feet 7 cleanly headed it past Julian Speroni for the goal.
“Honestly, it was just eye contact,” Bedell said. “I made eye contact with (Gehrig), dug my foot in the ground and made a back-post run. His ball was unreal. It doesn’t get any better than that.”& amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; lt; /p>
The Eagles pulled even in the 36th minute, however, when Glenn Murray easily headed a Yannick Bolasie cross past Crew goalkeeper Matt Lampson. At the time, several Crew defenders seemed to think Murray had been flagged offside and pulled up before the goal.
Crystal Palace took the lead in the 70th minute when Marouane Chamakh hit the post and saw the rebound fall to Jake Gray, who scored the disputed goal.
“It hit straight off (Chamakh’s) hand, hit the post and then the guy ended up scoring anyway,” Lampson said. “It looked extremely blatant to me. To me, it’s kind of gifting a goal, and that’s really unfortunate to see. But that’s the reality of soccer. We came back and tied it up and it’s a testament to what our guys did today.”
After promising to play a competitive lineup despite having played three Major League Soccer games between July 12-19, Berhalter started three players who have started more than half of the team’s 20 league games: defenders Michael Parkhurst and Waylon Francis and midfielder Wil Trapp. All three were replaced at halftime.
Four players played the entire game for the Crew: midfielders Viana, Paladini and Justin Meram and Lampson.
The game was played in front of an announced crowd of 10,011, which included a few dozen Crystal Palace fans from the Detroit Eagles supporters’ group in the south stands.
“I liked the fans that came from Detroit,” said Berhalter, who played for Crystal Palace from 2001 to ’02. “That was nice. It was special to be able to compete against one of your former clubs. You don’t get that too often.”