Columbus Crew take value from Crystal Palace draw despite annoyance with defensive letdowns

COLUMBUS, Ohio – It may have been a friendly match, but Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter wasn't happy with his team giving up two goals to English Premier League side Crystal Palace in Wednesday night's 2-2 draw at Crew Stadium.

"The way that we conceded the goals, they were comical – not comical goals, but a bit strange," Berhalter said after the game. "If they scored a couple good goals, you'd say fair enough, Premiership team. But I think the defending could have been a bit better."

Overall, Berhalter said the match "wasn't bad," and that it was more about rotating players and working on game fitness than anything, including appearances for several players who have been on loan with USL PRO affiliate Dayton Dutch Lions for most of the season.

"We got to see a lot of guys in action," he said. "Obviously the guys in Dayton we haven't seen so far, so seeing them playing was good. Some guys who weren't getting much game time, they got a full 90 minutes, so that was positive."

While Berhalter has been in communication with the Dayton coaching staff, he has little firsthand experience with the loaned players, and said it was good to see them in person.

"You want to be able to evaluate them in a like-for-like environment, and although his wasn't another MLS team, it was a competitive game,"he said. "So it was good to see how they can perform."

But the Crew did score goals of their own, including rookie Adam Bedell's 15th-minute header from a pinpoint Eric Gehrig cross to give the Crew an early lead.

"It was fantastic to get that goal," Bedell said. "But all the credit goes to Eric with that ball. It was unreal. It makes my job a whole lot easier with service like that. I just made a good run, got my head on it and put it in."

Berhalter obviously thought his team's strikes were better than Crystal Palace's.

"We had a couple of good goals," he said. "[Bedell's] goal was fantastic. Great cross, great header, that's a real goal."

Crystal Palace may still be in preseason, but for Bedell, it was an opportunity to play his first match against a team of that caliber, and he said it was a good challenge to play against defenders even more physical than those in MLS.

"It was definitely a good squad," he said. "Obviously they're in their preseason right now, so they've been working hard and training hard. So it was good to go up against some of their top guys, big center backs. It was a good challenge for me."