CREW WELCOMES THE EAGLES TO COLUMBUS...
The tilt marks the first-ever meeting between Crystal Palace FC and the Columbus Crew, and the Eagles are the tenth English opponent to face the Black & Gold ... the Crew is 10-5-2 all-time in international exhibitions and Wednesday will be the 12th international friendly held at Crew Stadium ... the first international opponent to take on the Black & Gold at Crew Stadium was Newcastle United as the two teams played to a 2-2 draw on July 26, 2000 in front of 18,212 fans.
... AND ANOTHER TEST AGAINST ENGLISH OPPOSITION
Wednesday’s match is the tenth international friendly against English opponents ... after a 2-1 win over Stoke City at Crew Stadium in 2012, the Crew fell last year by a final score of 2-1 in an exhibition against Wigan Athletic ... the loss moved the team’s record to 3-4-2 against English opposition ... previously, the Crew downed Leeds United 2-1 in 1997; drew Newcastle United 2-2 in 2000; defeated Fulham 2-1 in 2005; drew Everton 1-1 in 2006; lost to Aston Villa 3-1 in 2007; fell to West Ham United 3-1 in 2008; lost to Newcastle United 3-0 in 2011 before the 2012 Stoke City victory.
A PRE-SEASON TUNE-UP FOR CRYSTAL PALACE FC AFTER 2013-2014 ...
Crystal Palace FC’s pre-season tour includes an initial stop at Crew Stadium where the Eagles look to tune-up for the upcoming season in the Barclays Premier League ... Crystal Palace finished 11th out of 20 clubs in the English Premier League this past season, after earning promotion following a victory in the 2013 Championship playoffs ... a penalty by Kevin Phillips sent Crystal Palace to the Premier League for the first time since the 2004-05 season, and the club is set to remain there in 2014-15.
... WHILE BLACK & GOLD KEEP MLS PLAYOFFS IN SIGHT
The Crew enters the international friendly fresh off of a 2-1 win against the Montreal Impact ... the victory – the Crew’s first since May 24 – pushes the club to just a single point behind the New York Red Bulls for the fifth and final MLS Cup Playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, with the club’s next League match taking place on Saturday, July 26 against fellow postseason contender New England.
Steve Clark's double-save to help the Crew to a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Impact is nominated for Save of the Week. Clark's competitors this week are Houston's Tally Hall, Philadelphia's Zac MacMath, New York's Luis Robles and New England's Bobby Shuttleworth.
Voting runs until 2:59 a.m. ET on Friday and the winner is announced on Friday.
Bernardo Anor's weak-footed, 28-yard winner against the Montreal Impact is up for AT&T Goal of the Week following the Crew's weekend victory. The Venezuelan's competition for the Goal of the Week crown includes Sporting Kansas City's Benny Feilhaber, FC Dallas' Andres Escobar, Portland Timbers FC's Diego Valeri and LA Galacy forward Robbie Keane.
Voting runs until 2:59 a.m. ET on Friday.
Crew loanee Matt Walker scored the match's opening goal, but the Charlotte Eagles stormed back to notch a 2-1 win over Dayton at DOC Stadium on Saturday, July 19.
Walker was one of three Crew loanees in the starting lineup, joining Ross Friedman (pictured) and Matt Wiet.
The goal was Walker's second of the season in USL-PRO.
Photo Credit: Jeremi Blurton
Giancarlo Gonzalez and Waylon Francis were welcomed back to Crew Stadium on Wednesday night following their run in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The Columbus crowd gave them an ovation before kickoff, as many fans saw the Costa Rican duo on the world’s stage. Americans made up a full 20% of all the traffic to the FIFA official apps and Web sites. Over the tournament, 36.7 million unique visitors from the United States have visited FIFA.com or the FIFA app. That’s about 11.28% of the U.S. population.
The Black & Gold return to action on Saturday, seeking a critical home win against the Montreal Impact. The Crew does have recent history to its advantage this weekend. Montreal is currently 0-5-3 on the road in 2014 and has yet to secure a victory away from Stade Saputo. The Crew is also 3-0-0 in the three previous meetings between the Black & Gold and the Impact at Crew Stadium.
The 75th-minute mark in matches between the Crew and Montreal has led to fascinatng action in regular-season play dating back to 2012. In the most recent meeting on September 14, 2013, Federico Higuain added his second assist of the contest – and team-best eighth of the season – on Dominic Oduro’s match-winner in the 78th minute. Both meetings in 2012 featured game-winning goals in the 89th-minute or later as Patrice Bernier’s 89th-minute PK secured the 2-1 win for Montreal on July 8 while Emilio Renteria’s 93rd-minute goal gave the Crew a 2-1 win on Sept. 1, 2012. Just outside the parameter, Dominic Oduro also snagged a 72nd-minute equalizer to give the Black & Gold a draw in a 1-1 clash on April 14, 2013 in Montreal.
BERHALTER ON A TOUGH LOSS WEDNESDAY NIGHT
Following the club’s 2-1 defeat on Wednesday at home, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter spoke to the media on the turnaround needed ahead of Saturday ... said Berhalter: “We’re not victims in this whole thing. The way we perform we didn’t deserve to win that game and it wasn’t a pretty soccer game all around. The whole thing wasn’t pretty. Our job is to come out here and entertain the fans and play attractive soccer and we didn’t do that we didn’t live up to our end of the bargain tonight. It was hesitancy, it was guys not moving and it’s too bad because especially when they got the red card we could have gotten more out of that and we didn’t.”
FRANCIS, GONZALEZ RETURNED
Crew defenders Waylon Francis and Giancarlo Gonzalez represented the Crew in Brazil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and returned on Wednesday with a start after meeting the team in New York last weekend ... Gonzalez started and played in every single match for The Ticos ... Gonzalez also added successful spot kicks during penalty kicks on June 29 as Costa Rica advanced past Greece and in the team’s final match against the Netherlands on July 5 in the Quarterfinals.
LAST EIGHT HAVE BEEN STRONG FOR FINLAY
With his assist on Adam Bedell’s goal in New York on July 12, Ethan Finlay has scored a goal or an assist in six of the last eight League matches he’s played in dating back to May 17 at Portland ... Finlay scored his first career tally in Oregon before returning home for a second goal against Chicago on May 24 ... on May 31 in Toronto, Finlay added an assist on Justin Meram’s tally to open the scoring before scoring on June 4... the Crew was held scoreless in the 0-0 draw on June 7 and Finlay missed action on June 29 ... he returned with the team’s lone goal in the 1-1 draw at Colorado on July 4 ... the Crew earned an own goal on Wednesday night against Sporting KC in just the second match in eight League contests Finlay has played in of late in which he did not record a goal or an assist.
Homegrown midfielder and Gahanna native Wil Trapp is one of the subjects of Capital Style's "Columbus Athletes, Outside the Lines" feature in the magazine's latest issue. Trapp's style is showcased alongside Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski and former Ohio State star and Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins.
Among the topics covered in the feature are Trapp's travel essentials, music preferences and career ambitions.
Pick up the issue at a news stand around town or visit Capital-Style.com.
Photo: Capital Style