Crystal Palace take on Philadelphia Union in the second of their three pre-season friendlies in the USA – and this match is expected to provide their toughest test of the tour.
Philly currently lie just outside the play-off places in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference and come into the game off a back of just one defeat in their last 11 games.
The Union have bagged seven goals in their last three outings so will be confident of finding the net against the Eagles and will be bidding to go one better than their MLS rivals Columbus Crew, who recorded a 2-2 draw against Palace on Wednesday night.
They also have a good record in international friendlies, winning five and losing four of their nine matches against European opposition, although they have only won one of their four previous games against Premier League sides.
Tony Pulis’ men will be determined to get back to winning ways at PPL Park to record their first Stateside victory of the summer and prolong Philly’s poor record against English opposition in the process.
Philadelphia Union: Philly’s interim manager Jim Curtin confirmed that he will field a strong side against Palace – but hinted at wholesale changes at half time by telling the club’s official website: “We are going to put a good group on the field, likely two good groups.”
That means the likes of talismanic striker Sebastien Le Toux could be restricted to 45 minutes this evening with a play-off push at the forefront of Curtin’s mind.
Meanwhile, on loan Stoke City midfielder Maurice Edu could come against Tony Pulis – the man who took him to the Britannia Stadium in August 2012.
Crystal Palace: Pulis will again go into this game looking for fitness rather than results, but the Welshman will no doubt be keen to get a victory on the board tonight.
Mile Jedinak, Joel Ward, Jason Puncheon and Adlene Guedioura all played their first pre-season games of the summer against Columbus on Wednesday and are all in contention to feature again this evening.
Jonny Williams may not be risked after being taken off with a minor thigh problem against the Crew, while Chris Kettings and Paddy McCarthy could return to the matchday squad after both sitting out that game.
Youngster Jake Gray has bagged two goals in his two senior appearances so far this summer and has done his chances of picking up more game time against Philadelphia no harm whatsoever.
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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 by Saturday morning.