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Match Reports

Report: Vancouver Whitecaps 2-2 Crystal Palace

19 July 2016

Crystal Palace ended their three-game tour of North America undefeated after they drew 2-2 with Vancouver Whitecaps in a hugely entertaining game in BC Place.

A goalless first half exploded into life before the hour mark when the Canadians took the lead through David Edgar, but two quick-fire goals from Fraizer Campbell put Alan Pardew’s men ahead.

But after a host of chances for both sides, on 78 minutes Kendall Watson bulleted in a header to restore parity in what was probably a fair reflection of the game.

The first 10 minutes saw both teams pressing hard for an early goal and Julian Speroni had to get down low to push away a tricky effort by Marcel de Jong before Chung-yong Lee had one from range smothered by Paolo Tornaghi and Andros Townsend screwed wide of the mark.

Palace were looking dangerous in the opening exchanges and Jason Puncheon was next to test his luck when he was found inside the D by Townsend. He attempted to curl the ball around Tornaghi but the Whitecaps keeper got a hand to it to push it away, and then two minutes later Damien Delaney was nearly an unlikely first goalscorer as he diverted a good delivery by Townsend over the bar from a couple of yards out following a marauding run.

Following that entertaining start, the rest of the half was a drab affair but Carl Robinson’s men nearly went ahead just before half-time when a spot of pinball in the penalty area saw Erik Hurtado stab the ball goalwards but Scott Dann was in the perfect place to block and deflect the danger away as the opening 45 ended goalless.

But five minutes after the break that changed when the Whitecaps took the lead. After winning a corner they played it short and Cristian Techera whipped a great cross into the box for debutant Edgar to flick home with his head, glancing off Delaney’s shoulder before beating Speroni.

The lively Townsend nearly found an instant response when he fired just over from 25 yards out in the 55th minute, and soon after substitute keeper Marco Carducci tipped over a blast from Hiram Boateng after the midfielder had bulldozed his way past a couple of defenders.

But immediately following a raft of substitutions the Eagles pounced on some unfamiliarity to draw level again. Once again Townsend was in the thick of the action when he sped down the left and whipped a cross into the area, and having been on the pitch for around 90 seconds Campbell ghosted in ahead of his marker to send the ball into the bottom corner.

And a couple of minute later he grabbed his second of the night when a slick Palace passing move saw the ball come to Connor Wickham who picked out his strike partner, and Campbell showed great composure to get ahead of his man and dink the ball over the advancing Carducci and turn the game on its head.

Having awoken from its slumber, the game continued to blossom again and soon after the hosts were on the attack when 15-year-old Alphonso Davies centred for Christian Bolonos who looked destined to score but Delaney made a crucial block, and Speroni made an excellent save to deny Masato Kudo when he volleyed towards goal when a corner found the back post but the Argentinian rolled back the years to make a brilliant reaction stop.

He produced further heroics in the 76th minute when he got the slightest of fingertips to Kudo’s header to divert it over, but a minute later he was beaten for a second time when Bolonos produced a brilliant delivery from the left and Watson powered home a header to level affairs once again.

Speroni continued to be overworked and he soon had to make a save with his feet after Kyle Greig was next to win a header from another great cross from the left by Brett Levis, and in injury-time Kudo once again went close when he just failed to find the bottom corner with a shot from 20 yards as the Eagles managed to keep their unbeaten start to pre-season intact.

Vancouver: Tornaghi (Carducci 46), Edgar (Watson 61), Kah (de Wit 61), Seller (Parker 61), de Jong (Levis 61), Jacobson (Froese 32, Haber 79), Aird (Bolonos 61), Techera (Davies 61), Mezequida (Bustos 32, Greig 79), McKendry (Laba 61), Hurtado (Kudo 61).

Palace: Speroni, Kelly, Delaney (Croll 75), Dann, Mutch, Jedinak (Boateng 46), Puncheon (Kaikai 83), Lee (Bolasie 60), Fryers (Wickham 60), Townsend (Berkeley-Agyepong 83), Ladapo (Campbell 46). Subs not used: Perntreou.

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