Summer Friendly

Exhibition match report: Philadelphia Union 0-0 Crystal Palace

Philadelphia Union and Crystal Palace FC played out a dour, scoreless draw in Chester, PA on Wednesday night. The Union signed Derrick Jones and Ryan Richter from Bethlehem Steel to short-term contracts for the match.

As of this writing, no injuries have been reported.

First half

Philadelphia Union came out with John McCarthy in goal behind a back four of Fabinho, Ken Tribbett, Joshua Yaro, and Keegan Rosenberry. Brian Carroll and Leo Fernandes played behind Roland Alberg with Sebastien Le Toux and Walter Restrepo supporting CJ Sapong.

Crystal Palace was attacking down their right early, and Fabinho had to be strong to keep the visitors off the board inside of the first ten minutes.

Though the Union were able to penetrate the premier league side’s half fairly easily, they struggled to create real chances. CJ Sapong and Scott Dann engaged in a physical battle that the Union man seemed to enjoy while Walter Restrepo was dynamic off the left but unable to find the final pass.

In the 27th minute, Roland Alberg spun a cross with the outside of his foot narrowly above the Restrepo and Sapong.

Finally, in the 40th minute, Sapong was able to thread a pass into the box to Restrepo, but the winger ripped it over the goalframe.

Crystal Palace’s big late chance came from Ladapo, who failed to beat McCarthy at the near post.

Second half

The Union replaced everybody except Walter Restrepo to start the second frame.  Signed on a short-term contract from Bethlehem Steel, Derrick Jones impressed in midfield. His pass from deep earned Philly an early corner, and he connected well with Restrepo and Cole Missimo.

Second half sub Connor Wickham made Matt Jones work in the 58th, but the Union goalie pushed the shot around the post.

The most fireworks of the half came from Crystal Palace (and former Manchester United) winger Wilifred Zaha, who was working on Ray Gaddis up the left wing. Philly’s Cole Missimo provided a response for the home side with some tricky footwork to find himself some space, but no forward options.

In the 86th minute, Anderson was carded for a foul on the edge of the box on Zaha. The free kick provided symbolic value by coming to nothing.

The match finished scoreless. The Union next play New York Red Bulls on Sunday at 7:00pm EST.

Philadelphia Union
John McCarthy (Matt Jones HT); Fabinho (Ray Gaddis HT), Josh Yaro (Richie Marquez HT), Ken Tribbett (Anderson HT), Keegan Rosenberry (Taylor Washington HT); Brian Carroll © (Warren Creavalle HT), Leo Fernandes; Roland Alberg (Derrick Jones HT) Walter Restrepo (Ryan Richter 77’), Sebastien Le Toux (Cole Missimo HT); C.J. Sapong (Fabian Herbers HT)

Crystal Palace
Julian Speroni; Joel Ward (Luke Croll 66’), Martin Kelly (James Tomkins HT), Scott Dann (Connor Wickham HT), Zeki Fryers; Hiram Boateng, Jordon Mutch (Bakary Sako 66’), Jason Puncheon (Damien Delaney HT), Andros Townsend (Lee Chung-Yong 61’), Sullar Kaikai (Wilfried Zaha 54); Freddie Lapado (Fraizer Campbell 60’)

Scoring Summary

Disciplinary Summary
CPFC – Hiram Boateng (Yellow) 36’
PHI – Anderson (Yellow) 86’

Stats (PHL / CPFC)
Shots: 11 / 11
Shots on Target: 1 / 6
Fouls: 9 / 14
Corners: 5 / 11


  1. Liked what i saw from d. Jones and missilo

  2. I liked what i saw from d. Jones and missimo.

  3. el Pachyderm says:

    Jones looks ready to me. More time. If the mandate is youth play the kid… I’ll accept the learning curve gladly.
    Take him over Creavalle, who I am at times stunned, has made it to the highest level of professional American soccer.
    Boring snooze fest – though I appreciated the languid pace as opposed to the helter skelter of typical MLS games.
    Does anyone else think tonight would have been a fine time to actually try building play from the back- hoof. hoof. hoof. I mean CP was clearly just exercising their legs so why not? Come on man. I appreciate the obvious attention to coordinated pressure that has become a team hallmark but do we have to lump every damn 6 up the field to 50-50?
    Two last things tied together… how much longer do we have to watch brilliant balls and final passes go for nought…
    Walter… you had time buddy, be calm, take a touch let the defender slide past and just open or close the hip and deposit the ball into side netting like you’ve imagined it 1,000 times. and. Warren… buddy when the perfect ball is slotted to you 12 yrds out it’s called shooting.
    Try it, go on. Touch to settle and on that half step slot the ball past the goalie.
    That’s enough. Night.

    • Broseidon says:

      Interesting. I saw it the other way around. I thought creavalle was on fire tonight and D. Jones looked timid. Notably I started watching in the 44th minute so I may have missed some stuff.
      On the other hand M. Jones looked strong coming up with great saves. But again I missed McCarthy play.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        From an athletic standpoint WC is excellent it’s the soccer skill that baffles me. I didn’t find Jones timid I found him observing and getting a feel. I saw him comfortable on the ball and providing outlet and closing down players.

      • D. Jones was one of our only players who could keep up with Palace in terms of strength and pace. I was impressed.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      BTW credit to Gaddis who while it was all arms and legs and dry heaves… managed to keep Zaha in check.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Hmm. Derrick Jones. He had a lot more space than he usually has in a USL game. Talen’s pitch is 15 yards longer than Goodman at Lehigh. CP was not I top shape either, their first game in the US. I liked the way he read Creavalle and tried to compensate, to create positional balance.
      I agree what was on display looked good. Would have to see it a few more times draw a conclusion. That they brought him up suggests the talent evaluators expected him to have success.. It will be interesting to see if he plays against Hammerheads at Lehigh at noon on Thursday. (Today, technically).
      Richter will today because he only got 13 minutes. But Jones and Washington both got 45. Those two got a “Next Man Up” exam. Thought each did well. Richter got sent a message that the organization appreciates and values him.
      It is a logical possibility that the Mr. Outside Back backup insurance policy might be up for a trade, since Washington and richter would both have to step into the breach if Gaddis were to leave. Emotionally I hope not. I liked that Zaha switched into the middle to get away from him, but another team might like that, too.. CJ needs a back up to his style of play. Herbers is an alternative, not a replacement.
      I was surprised at how well Leo Fernandes looked. Pleased, of course. His defending seemed improved, especially..

    • Restrepo looked every bit the part of a NASL winger. Looked tentative/confused on any kind of give and go movement with Alberg and that open in the box moon shot was a shame.

      Anderson looks like a pro soccer player, and then he plays and looks like maybe he needs a backup career.

      LeToux’s “touch” is always sandpaper rough, but against BPL comp it reminds me of Bambi learning to skate.

      McCarthy was ok, one shot right into the mitts and got in the way (falling down?) of a tough angle shot on the post. Jones stretched a few times when CP tried and gives me a good feeling about our insurance policy.

  4. Jones had 1 brilliant move and 1 brilliant pass. Had too many passes going to no one in particular.
    Fernandes was all over the field in the first half. He impressed me the most.
    Sapong had 3 headers. He should have scored with one of those. Needs to work on heading.
    Herbers should have run to front post (and scored) on Missino’s brilliant pass.
    Union’s shooting and touches in final 3rd leaves much to be desired.
    Gaddis vs. Zaha was my highlight of the night.
    Brilliant saves by both Union goalies. They kept it 0-0.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Agree about the keepers.

      Thought Yaro saved the bacon several times early against the pace of CP jersey number 8.
      Anderson was badly exposed for pace once, badly. That is no surprise, of course.

  5. Glad I missed nothing.

    • pragmatist says:

      I “watched” it on Twitter. I think I was able to feel the appropriate level of excitement.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Same. If it were a USOC or MLS match, I would have definitely been there.

      While it would have been nice to have been there to see some of our younger players get a run out, these friendlies no longer get me excited.

      • Broseidon says:

        i don’t know about you guys but crystal palace just doesn’t excite me, they didn’t excite me the first time they came either. Bournemouth was pretty cool to see. it would be cool if they could get a team more of a prominent status.
        and i don’t mean just one of the top 5 either. it could be West Ham or Everton. I would probably show up for that game.

      • pragmatist says:

        I don’t even think it’s a matter of the team, although that helps.
        It needs to be more of a big deal, if they want it to matter at all. I don’t mean competitively, necessarily, but maybe do something like the Flyers Wives Carnival, and finish it with the exhibition. In other words, build some excitement somehow. And then when you have people there the day before, let the fans meet and greet all the players from both teams.
        And have the game on a Saturday. Midweek games have bad crowds on a good night. When it’s an exhibition with a bunch of non-starters/non-roster players, people aren’t going to rush to the stadium.
        I am absolutely NOT in favor of switching to the international calendar, but this is one of the (very minor) drawbacks of not aligning. It would be much easier if it was preseason for both teams.

      • Jim Presti says:

        Mid-week game is the biggest killer. For an exhibition match, 95% of people are saying “I’m not wasting my time.” Myself included. But put it on a Saturday or Sunday and make a day of it… there’s your marketing strategy

      • Zizouisgod says:

        We had Everton in several years ago and they got a decent crowd. Celtic came in the first year and it was pretty full. Schalke was another big club that came, but that didn’t draw as well. These were all in Chester. The big matches with Manchester United and Real Madrid at the Linc aren’t comparable.

        For me, the friendlies just don’t get the juices flowing as they don’t mean anything. I’m more excited about a USOC match vs a USL or NASL side.

  6. My daughter got to be one of the ball kids last night, or I may have opted to stay home. We went to Paul McCartney Tuesday, and we’re going to Guns N Roses tonight. I’m too old for this many late nights in a row…
    Number 17 on CPFC impressed me. Dude was a monster – moves and some strength to back them up.
    I agree with folks above who thought D. Jones looked good. Especially once you factor in that he’s only 19.
    Missimo started the night on the right side – right in front of me. I thought he looked timid and slow at first. Ray Gaddis actually yelled at him loud enough for us to here. “Press! Up! Press!” Looked like Missimo kept dropping back into the space Ray wanted to occupy, and Captain Ray let it be known he wasn’t welcome there. 🙂 Given his performance as the match wore on, though, I’m willing to chalk up those early issues to jitters; we’ll see what he brings next time.

    • And for those talking about CP not being exciting… I did read somewhere leading up to the game that a part of their desire to come around this time was the part-ownership of Josh Harris. I do have to wonder if Jay Sugarman has maybe been trying to convince Harris to buy into the Union to infuse a bit more cash, and/or possibly make some sort of formal connection between the two teams.

      • The helicopter did make an appearance last night so maybe there was some business being discussed over Union Dogs and beers?

      • John Ling says:

        The helicopter actually made two appearances last night. It was there to drop off around 5:30 or so, and then again sometime during the 2nd half.

      • Hmmmm…

      • pragmatist says:

        Yeah, as soon as Harris bought CP I had the same thought. And they aren’t messing around, either. The deal for Benteke should be finished up soon, and that won’t be cheap.
        It would be nice to convince some deep pockets to climb aboard so Sugarman isn’t the main sugar daddy of this franchise.

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