Darren Powell makes seven changes to the side that faced Real Monarchs
Both sides have early half-chances through set pieces
Hoffenheim took the lead after just over 15 minutes through Bogarde
Whitworth reacts well to deny Hoffenheim a second
HT: Hoffenheim 1-0 Palace
Palace started the second half well, but could not find any breakthrough
Lots of changes around the hour mark for both sides
Franco Umeh and Luke Plange combine well, although Palace still trail
Whitworth denies Hoffenheim once again after a breakaway
Breitenbucher doubles Hoffenheim’s lead in injury time
FT: Hoffenheim 2-0 Palace
Just two days after their first match at the MLS NEXT Pro Invitational, Crystal Palace’s U21s were back in action against TSG Hoffenheim’s U23s.
Head coach Darren Powell made six changes to the side, fielding a youthful side against the more experienced German side.
Both teams were limited to set-piece opportunities in the first 10 minutes of the game, although neither could create a clear-cut chance.
Hoffenheim took the lead with just over a quarter of an hour through Melayro Bogarde. A serve fell kindly for the Germans and Bogarde raced into the center of the box and calmly finished to open the scoring.
Palace tried to find a way back into the game, although they couldn’t get any direct attempts on goal. Scott Banks, goalscorer from the previous game against Real Monarchs, made a great run down the middle, but couldn’t find the net.
Banks also forced the keeper into a fingertip save to turn his cross back, while Luke Plange threatened down the left channel.
Joe Whitworth was called into action to prevent the German team from doubling their lead. The Under-21 No.1 reacted well to deny Butler’s effort after playing it in behind.
Palace went into the break a goal down, although they were by no means offside.
After the break, the Eagles started well in search of an equaliser. Seán Grehan headed wide after a well-worked move down the right, while Whitworth maintained the deficit at the other end.
On the hour mark, it was all changes for both sides, with multiple substitutions at once. Palace substitutes Dylan Reid and Caleb Kporha provided fresh legs and caused problems for the Hoffenheim defence, although an equalizer was still not in sight.
Whitworth was again called into action to keep Palace in the game as he got down to deny Hoffenheim on a breakaway with 10 minutes remaining.
In stoppage time, the German team added a second goal from Nick Breitenbucher. The substitute cut inside from the right and sent a fierce effort into the back of the Palace net.
It was not to be for the young Eagles as the referee brought proceedings to an end shortly after Hoffenheim’s goal.
While it’s another defeat, it was a crucial game to boost the squad’s fitness levels ahead of the 2023/24 campaign.
Hoffenheim: Petersson (GK), Butler, Schmahl, Konig, Mokwa, Drexler, Bogarde, Karatis, Mazagg, Fesenmeyer, Camara
Subs: Werner (GK), Verstappen (GK), Breitenbucher, Hagmann, Lassig, Carnier, Kelati, Mulele, Obiogumu, Soerensen, Schulze, Kalambayi, Boff.
Palace: Whitworth (GK), Grante (Jemide, 81), Sheridan (Cardines, 62), Grehan, Watson (Kporha, 62), Wells-Morrison (Rodney, 62), Raymond (Reid, 62), Nascimento (Umeh, 70), Banks (Akinwale, 62), Plange, Moo62.
Subs not used: Izquierdo (GK), Eastwood (GK), Eze.