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Preview: Columbus Crew v Crystal Palace

PUBLISHED

12:00 23rd July 2014


ABOUT
Crystal Palace face the first of three opponents during their American tour tonight when they take on Major League Soccer outfit Columbus Crew.

The Crew, who are managed by former Eagle Gregg Berhalter, were the first MLS team to be founded and their home ground, Crew Stadium, became the first purpose-built soccer stadium in the USA when it opened in 1999.

They are therefore a club heaped in footballing pedigree and will no doubt provide a stern test for Tony Pulis’ side, especially when you combine their talents with the heat and humidity of Ohio – and the fact that they are already deep into their domestic season. 

But the Eagles will be determined to continue their American adventure with a victory following two arduous days of training at the Columbus Crew training facility.  

TEAM NEWS
Columbus Crew: The Crew could make some changes to their team tonight, with manager Gregg Berhalter hinting that he may rest one or two of his bigger names to concentrate on a push for the MLS end of season play-offs. 

Federico Higuain, brother of Napoli star Gonzalo, and Costa Rica World Cup hero Giancarlo Gonzalez are just two of the ones to watch in the Columbus squad tonight.

Crystal Palace: Boss Tony Pulis will again use tonight’s friendly as a way of building match fitness for his squad – and so expect him to call upon a number of players for the game, just as he did in the 13-1 demolition of GAK Graz last week.

Julian Speroni is pushing for game time after sitting out that contest in Austria, while youngsters Jake Gray, Hiram Boateng and Jerome Williams will look to build on their encouraging showings in that game. 

Full back Joel Ward was suffering from a minor niggle in Austria but is expected to play a part against the Crew tonight, while captain Mile Jedinak, back among the squad following an extended summer break, will also be considered.

Jason Puncheon will also be looking to open his pre-season account after returning home from the club’s Austrian training camp early last week when his wife went into labour. 

TICKETS
A number of tickets still remain at the Crew Stadium for tonight’s match. 

CLICK HERE to book your seat online now!

MATCH COVERAGE
Follow the club’s official Twitter account, @CPFC, for regular updates throughout the 90 minutes at Crew Stadium from 12.30am BST. 

We’ll also have a full on-the-whistle match report here on cpfc.co.uk straight after the game, plus highlights on Palace Player later this week.