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Palace edges Pioneers 1-0

Crystal Palace Baltimore News Release -

Friday, May 15, 2009

BALTIMORE, MD -- Crystal Palace Baltimore defeated the Western Mass Pioneers thanks to a 28th minute goal from loan signing Matthew Mbuta. The victory puts Palace back on top of the USL-2 standings as they prepare for their second game in 24 hours, welcoming the Charlotte Eagles to UMBC Stadium on Saturday night.

Mbuta provided the winner in return to Palace

Billy Chiles made his debut in the Palace goal as the coaches shuffled the lineup in view of the busy weekend schedule. The opening quarter of an hour saw Palace dominate possession, with the two loan signings from Red Bull New York - Matthew Mbuta and Nick Zimmerman - providing the biggest threat.

Mbuta had tested Matthew Jones twice early on but in the 28th minute the young Cameroonian got the better of the Western Mass 'keeper. A Pioneers' defender misplayed the ball attempting to clear his lines and Mbuta stole in, beat another defender and slotted past Jones with ease.

As the half wore on, the Pioneers tried to force their way back into the game, consistently getting the ball up to their big target man, Neil Krause, but the Palace back line didn't give him any room to create much in the way of chances and the first half ended with Baltimore looking good value for their lead.

Palace Co-Managers Pete Medd and Jim Cherneski made wholesale changes at half-time, taking advantage of their bench to save the legs of several key players in anticipation of the following night's tough clash with Charlotte. Andrew Marshall, Paul Robson, Shintaro Harada and Kevin Gnatiko were replaced by Wale Adelusimi making his Crystal Palace debut, Stephen Basso, Val Teixeira and Jordan Seabrook. The team lost a little bit of continuity as a result, sitting back somewhat on their slim lead, but still looked the more likely to score.

Val Teixeira was the danger man for Palace, nearly netting on three occasions, but Jones was at the top of his game, pulling off a string of fine saves.

Palace's best chance was created by Teixeira who released Mbuta on goal, but when it seemed certain that Palace would double their lead, the Pioneers' goalie somehow managed to keep his team in the game with another stunning block.

After a relatively quiet night between the posts, Chiles' night ended early after he injured his ankle on a play in the 75th minute and was replaced by Brian Rowland. The Palace defense made the rest of the game easy for Rowland and Palace completed a well-earned victory.

Palace's match with Charlotte kicks off at 7:00pm on Saturday. Tickets will be available at the gate, which opens at 6:00pm

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