It was less than three months ago that Crystal Palace lost to Manchester United in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium. And with that memory still fresh in mind, Palace manager Alan Pardew still compared the atmosphere for a friendly in Cincinnati, Ohio to that of a cup final.
FC Cincinnati, a brand new club currently in the middle of their inaugural season in the USL (U.S. third tier), hosted the Premier League club and sold more than 35,000 tickets for the occasion. For the sake of comparison, Palace’s Selhurst Park only holds 25,000.
Palace won the match 2–0, but all Pardew wanted to talk about after the final whistle was the incredible atmosphere.
“Tonight wasn’t about the football, really,” Pardew told his club’s YouTube channel. “It was about this club [FC Cincinnati] and the way the whole place was unbelievable tonight. I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life for preseason. It was like a cup final! And it was brilliant. This club is fantastic.”
He added: “I’d love to come back here, because this was a great game, great atmosphere, and a tremendous occasion.”
I think the only thing to say to this is well done, Cincinnati.