Neil Sika joined 95.5 The Game's Matt Finkes to preview Wednesday's friendly with Crystal Palace FC.
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.
For his pair of goals in the Crew's 2-1 home victory over the Montreal Impact on Saturday, midfielder Bernardo Anor was named to MLSsoccer.com's Team of the Week. The recognition marks the second Team of the Week selection for the Venezuelan this season, as he was also honored following his brace against the Philadelphia Union on March 22.
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