Wednesday night's friendly match between the Columbus Crew and Crystal Palace lived up to its name. Both teams left the contest content after a 2-2 draw that seemed to feature more substitutes than shots.
The Black and Gold came out aggressive with a strong lineup consisting mostly of regular starters. Head coach Gregg Berhalter indicated earlier in the week that he wanted to use this game both as an opportunity to get some players minutes, but also in place of a hard training session for the players that might play against the New England Revolution on Saturday.
Just 11 minutes into the match, the Crew came within inches of opening the scoring when midfielder Agustin Viana's powerful header clanged of the post and was cleaned up by Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni.
Two minutes later, Justin Meram laid a ball off for Wil Trapp and the midfielder unleashed a rocket that went just wide from 30 yards out.
Finally in the 15th minute, Columbus opened the scoring through striker Adam Bedell. Central defender Eric Gehrig found himself in an advanced wide position and delivered a spot on cross to the 6'7" forward who headed the ballby Speroni for the 1-0 advantage.
In the 36th minute, the Eagles leveled the score via a Glenn Murray header that beat Crew goalkeeper Matt Lampson.
The two teams went into the halftime break with the score level and came out making changes. The Black and Gold made five switches at the break and while Crystal Palace only made one, they waited just five minutes into the second half to begin a slew of alterations.
With the match still tied at one 65 minutes in, midfielder Ben Speas made the save of the game. After Lampson came off his line on a corner, a Palace attacker headed the ball into what should have been an empty net if it weren't for the work of Speas to recover and clear the ball off the line.
After 70 minutes, the Eagles took the lead from the helping hand of two substitutes. After a cross was delivered into the penalty area, striker Marouane Chamakh attempted to head the ball back across goal to his teammate. The ball appeared to strike Chamakh's arm before hitting the post and falling to 19-year old Jake Gray for the easy finish.
Midfielder Daniel Paladini forced a nice save from halftime substitute Wayne Hennessey in the 74th minute, when he ripped a free kick from long range. On the ensuing corner kick, rookie Matt Walker had a shot deflected away from goal.
Three minutes later Paladini was not stopped, as he used all 5'9" of his frame to head home a Viana cross and pull the game level at two.
Palace had two chances to get the winner late in the match, but sent one effort wide and had another saved by Lampson to preserve the tie.
As soon as the match concluded, the Eagles were headed east where they will train and take on the Philadelphia Union on Friday. The Crew will resume league play Saturday, when they travel to a struggling Revolution side, looking to make it two wins in a row.