For the first time since 2011, the Vancouver Whitecaps will welcome an English Premier League team to Vancouver for a summer friendly. Crystal Palace FC will play the Whitecaps on Tuesday, July 19th at 7 p.m., as part of the ‘Vancouver International Soccer Challenge’.
“We’re honoured to be invited to take part in the Vancouver International Soccer Challenge against Crystal Palace FC,” said Whitecaps President Bob Lenarduzzi in a club-released statement. “Facing an English Premier League side will provide a great test for our club, and great entertainment for local soccer fans.”
“It’s a trip that I think will be good for the club,” said Crystal Palace FC Manager Alan Pardew. “As we prepare for our upcoming Premier League season, we had a number of teams that want to play us and we’ve taken this opportunity to go to North America to spread the word of the type of football we play. Our fan base continues to grow in North America and this is a perfect opportunity to reach out to those fans as well as introduce ourselves to many more new fans in the United States and Canada.”
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) May 19, 2016
The BC Place match will be the last of three matches in North America. They will play fellow MLS side Philadelphia Union on July 13, as well as FC Cincinnati of the USL.
While it is always interesting to see teams from the EPL visit Vancouver, Crystal Palace surely wasn’t high on many people’s list in terms of intrigue, despite the fact that they will play Manchester United in the FA Cup Final this weekend. With a record of 11W-9D-18L in the EPL this season, Crystal Palace finished 15th in the table. They’re also not stacked with marquee players.
In short, it’s sure to still be fun, but this isn’t one of the marquee teams in world football.
#VWFC have a seriously congested league schedule in July, and now throw a friendly in the mix? Against a team w/ small fanbase here? Ok.
— El Canaco (@ElCanaco) May 19, 2016
There’s also the issue of cramming another match into the already busy Whitecaps July schedule. The friendly against Crystal Palace makes seven matches for the month.
Some more negativity?
Since deleted, #CPFC Pardew on "America" visit: "They're kind of immune to the history of football."
— Mike Martignago (@MikeMartignago) May 19, 2016
That’s Crystal Palace FC Manager Alan Pardew, by the way. Probably not the kind of quote you want on the day you’re announcing a North American tour. Perhaps Whitecaps supporters will remind him of this in July.
The international friendly is part of the sixth annual Vancouver-Guangzhou Friendship Cities Cup, a friendly match between a Select XI from the Vancouver Chinese Soccer Association and the Guangzhou Super Football Club to celebrate the 31st anniversary of the sister cities relationship between Vancouver and Guangzhou. The Friendship Cities Cup will take place immediately following the Whitecaps-Crystal Palace friendly.
“We are delighted to have both Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Crystal Palace FC agree to take part in this international friendly match,” said Yung Tsz Shuen, President of the Vancouver Chinese Soccer Association. “We hope the home fans will come out and fully support Whitecaps FC, while at the same time they can witness some fantastic skills from players of Crystal Palace such as Zaha, Campbell, Wickham, Adebayor, and Jedinak. It is also our aim, through this sister cities relationship, to encourage more people from the local Chinese community to support Whitecaps FC and be more involved in football development in Vancouver.”