CHESTER, Pa. -- Ethan White had better nights.
Scoring an own-goal in the 20th minute, the Union defender helped English Premier League's Crystal Palace defeat the disjointed hosts, 1-0, in a friendly Friday night at PPL Park.
“It’s part of being a defender,” White said. “Our mistakes are magnified. I have to move onto the next game.”
The exhibition loss was the Union’s fourth at PPL Park against English Premier League teams. They are 1-4 overall against clubs from England with their only win coming over Everton in 2011.
“It’s funny how everyone wants to talk about how athletic MLS is,” interim Union manager Jim Curtin said. “Everyone is big, fast and strong. You look out there and as it kicks off, they’re a lot bigger, a lot faster and a lot stronger in a lot of ways. It was a good exercise for our guys.”
In less than dramatic fashion, Crystal Palace got the game-winner when White tried to defend away a ball that was lofted softly into the box. The attempted header floated back toward the goal, over goalie Andre Blake and in.
“I went up to contest it, just to body [Crystal Palace forward Marouane] Chamakh,” White said. “The ball nicked off my head and over Andre .
“It was errant.”
It would be the difference in a largely uneventful contest.
“It’s a tough one,” Blake said. “I wanted to go get it but it hung in the air by the breeze. I got caught. It was a bad touch. It was unlucky.”
With the Union on their heels, the visitors nearly doubled their advantage just minutes later. But despite strong in-box tries from Yannick Bolasie and company, they couldn’t beat Blake, who came up with three consecutive top-notch saves to keep the Union afloat at the half, down 1-0.
"[Crystal Palace] probably should have been up two or three," he said. "I thought Andre Blake bailed us out a bit. Made some big saves."
Blake finished the half with five saves and ended the contest with six. He has yet to start an MLS game this season.
“Every time I get an opportunity to showcase what I can do,” Blake said, “I go out there and do my best to help my team.”
To start the second half, the Union subbed in Amobi Okugo and Brian Carroll for Vincent Nogueria and Maurice Edu in the midfield and Pedro Riberio for Ethan White on defense. Aaron Wheeler and Sebastien Le Toux joined the match for Danny Cruz and Andrew Wenger.
The Union received their best chance of the match in the 81st minute, as Corben Bone pushed forward a pass to Le Toux down the right side. On a sudden odd-man rush, Le Toux gained the right point of the crease before firing a cross toward streaking Antoine Hoppenot, who couldn’t get his foot on it.
“We created chances in the second half and pushed the game a bit,” Curtin said. “We never really made them uncomfortable. I would have liked to have made them more uncomfortable in the night, but good effort. I think we learned a lot about our group.”