Crystal Palace Moving Along Well in Preseason Clashes with American Sides

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2014

Jul 25, 2014; Chester, PA, USA; Crystal Palace midfielder Yannick Bolasie (7) gains control of the ball during the first half of the match against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
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CHESTER, Pa.During the second game of their American tour, Crystal Palace showed plenty of life in attack against Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union

The 1-0 victory put the Eagles on the right track heading into the English Premier League season, but it may worry some that the only goal came on an own goal scored by Ethan White in the 20th minute. 

Despite not scoring a goal of their own, Palace looked lively throughout most of the first half, before a slew of substitutes entered for the final 45 minutes. 

Manager Tony Pulis opted to go with Yannick Bolasie and Jason Puncheon on the wings, while Marouane Chamakh and Dwight Gayle started up front in a 4-4-2 formation that at times seemed like a 4-2-4 given how forward the wingers were. 

Jul 25, 2014; Chester, PA, USA; Crystal Palace midfielder Yannick Bolasie (7) battles with Philadelphia Union defender Raymon Gaddis (28) for control of the ball during the first half of the match at PPL Park. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sp
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Bolasie was the most effective of the four attack-minded players, as he put Philadelphia full-backs Ray Gaddis and Fabinho under duress for most of the first half. 

"They gave us a lot of trouble down their left side. They probably should've been two or three up in the first 10 minutes," Philadelphia interim manager Jim Curtin said. 

Pulis was very complimentary of the first-half attack, but it was also a performance that didn't entirely shock him. 

"They are players who have caused the top players in the world problems. That's no disrespect to Philadelphia, that's what they can do on their day," Pulis said. 

Although the Eagles did look strong in attack, Pulis said that the club is nowhere near done in the transfer window.

Jul 25, 2014; Chester, PA, USA; Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis before the friendly match against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
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"We're still looking to bring players in," said Pulis, whose club signed Fraizer Campbell from Cardiff City earlier in the day.

One part of the side that didn't see many challenges in the second of three friendlies that Palace will play in the United States was the defense. 

Philadelphia's attack didn't get going until the middle of the second half, but at that point, Pulis had swapped out his entire starting 11, except goalkeeper Julian Speroni. 

"We never really made them uncomfortable," Curtin said.

One thing that is guaranteed about the Eagles heading into their first full season under Pulis, who guided the club to an 11th-place finish last season, is the style of play. 

"It's a direct style of play, very well organized and it's effective. When he took over Palace, they were in the relegation zone. He got the team organized and found a way to get the results they needed to not only stay up, but finish mid-table," said Philadelphia midfielder Maurice Edu, who was signed by Pulis at Stoke City in 2012. 

Jul 25, 2014; Chester, PA, USA; Crystal Palace forward Marouane Chamakh (29) heads the ball away from Philadelphia Union defender/midfielder Amobi Okugo (14) during the second half of the match at PPL Park. Crystal Palace FC won the match 1-0. Mandatory C
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The Crystal Palace boss, who also led Stoke to safety on five occasions during his managerial spell at the Britannia Stadium, did not set a goal in regard to league position for this year, but he did make it clear what his main target was. 

"Staying in the Premiership, that's the goal," Pulis said. 

Palace, who also drew with the Columbus Crew Wednesday, will play one more friendly against the Richmond Kickers before heading back to England with a squad that is healthy, which is something Pulis doesn't take for granted. 

"Everybody's worked hard. Everybody's had a go. I've been very pleased that most of them have come through without any injuries," the Crystal Palace boss said. 

 

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.