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Scouting Report: Crystal Palace at Columbus Crew

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The Crew welcome EPL side Crystal Palace to Columbus Crew Stadium for a midweek international friendly.

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Crew face a potential step up in competition in Wednesday night's international friendly against Crystal Palace F.C. The English Premier League club is on their preseason tour of the United States, which also features stops in Philadelphia and Richmond.

This will be the second game of the preseason for the Eagles, who defeated Austrian side GAK Graz 13-1 in a match that allowed manager Tony Pulis to play all of his players no more than a half.

Crew manager Gregg Berhalter believes this game is a good opportunity for his team, despite being in the middle of the campaign.

"If you look around the league, everyone is doing this," he said of the midseason friendlies.

"What I think is, it gives our fans an opportunity to see a Premiership team and I think that's fantastic. We get to see how we stack up against a Premiership team. To me it's a win-win. We're using this as a very hard training session. We could do fitness or we could play a game in front of how ever many thousand people against a Premiership team so I think it's a great opportunity for our group."

It will also give Berhalter a chance to see how some of his younger players who have been on loan this season are developing in a competitive environment.

"We're able to give guys like Ross Friedman, Matt Wiet some game time and then other guys that haven't been getting much game time to step on the field and compete," Berhalter said on Tuesday.

Friedman, along with Wiet, midfielder Matt Walker, and goalkeeper Brad Stuver - all who have been training and playing with the Dayton Dutch Lions - returned to Columbus Tuesday in order to prepare for the match.

For a young player like Friedman, playing in this game would be a big opportunity.

"It will be a dream come true," the rookie defender said. "In terms of playing against a Premier League team, that's a dream so I'm really excited about that... I'm really excited to be playing against these big time players and going out there and just competing and try and prove myself."

With the way the season has gone with injuries, Berhalter does not have many alternative options and said on Tuesday he will field a strong team while getting a few players rest.

For Crystal Palace, it will be another step in their preparation for the start of the EPL season, but that does not mean Pulis' side will be taking it easy on Columbus.

"Well we want to win and give a good performance. I think it's important we do that," the manager told TheCrew.com.

"The lads have only played 45 minutes of football so far so we know it's going to be tough. Columbus is a decent team. We played them last time when I was at Stoke and we were fortunate not to be beaten badly because they played really well that day and I've told the lads, they will find this game difficult."

Pulis took over the Eagles in November of last season and led them to an 11th place finish in England's top league. He was named the EPL's Manager of the Year for the team's success and is looking to build on that this year.

The Black and Gold are coming off their first win in seven games and would love to keep momentum going in the right direction on Wednesday before returning to league play Saturday night. In the end, Wednesday's game should be a fun contest for all involved and give an opportunity to everyone.