Crystal Palace completed their first pre-season fixture of 2016 in Philadelphia last night, coming away with a number of positives from the game in the eyes of Alan Pardew.
Although the scoreline may not paint the game in the most entertaining of lights, the manager and his coaching staff were extremely open about the fact that they were looking towards the fixture as a fitness exercise more than anything else, having only touched down in North America a few days ago.
Given the fine form Union have shown in the MLS so far this season, the battling qualities displayed by our players should be applauded, with a gritty and well-balanced opening 45 minutes giving way to a second period within which we saw a little more in the way of creative guile in the final third.
As individual performances go, Andros Townsend was by far and away the star man for the Eagles on the night, showing immediately why Pardew and Steve Parish were so keen to meet the release clause which enabled us to lure him away from Newcastle earlier this summer. Unfortunately, debutant James Tomkins and academy graduate Sullay Kaikai both picked up minor strains, whilst James McArthur missed the tie after aggravating his knee yesterday, but none of the knocks should hold the aforementioned trio back too much in the coming days and weeks.
It’s felt like an age since we last saw a Palace team take to the pitch in any form of competition, making last night’s opening pre-season fixture an exciting one for a football starved fan-base, and as you can see from the highlights attached at the top of the page, there were more than enough positive signs to take away from the game moving forward.