At halftime, Union coach Jim Curtin huddled his substitutes.

The group included rookie midfielder Cole Missimo and rookie defender Taylor Washington, as well as midfielder Derrick Jones, perhaps Union affiliate Bethlehem Steel's most promising player.

None of the three had gotten playing time with the Union before Wednesday night, when the team played to a 0-0 tie in a friendly with Crystal Palace.

"You have to go into things full-speed because they aren't going to take it easy on you. Stick together," Curtin recalled telling the players. "Enjoy the moment, but at the same time, know this is ramped up a bit, higher than probably some of you have ever seen."

The midsummer friendly meant little to the Union. Their usual stars weren't on the pitch. Neither were the standouts for Crystal Palace, who are in the Premier League's preseason. And when Wednesday night came around, neither team could capitalize on opportunities at Talen Energy Stadium.

The game provided opportunities for young players to showcase themselves.

At 19, Jones made a good first impression.

"Derrick was excellent, all around. Wasn't nervous, was comfortable receiving balls," Curtin said. "You just tell a kid like Derrick to have fun, enjoy the moment, play with a smile on your face."

"I think I did OK," Jones said. "I'm really excited I got a chance to play. Before the game, I was nervous, but my teammates motivated me, so it kept me going."

Jones and fellow Steel player Ryan Richter were signed to short-term agreements with the Union before the game and were set to return to Bethlehem afterward. Richter, a defender, entered the game in the 77th minute for starter Walter Restrepo.

The 23-year-old Missimo settled down within a few minutes of play and showed off impressive dribbling and the one-on-one ability his coaches rave about.

Crystal Palace was without goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and midfielders Yohan Cabaye, Joe Ledley, and Jonny Williams. But in the beginning of the second half, the team began creating chances. It was stalled by a strong effort from second-half goalkeeper Matt Jones and defender Raymon Gaddis, who contained Crystal Palace midfielder Wilfried Zaha.

"I was most proud that the first-half group and the second-half group looked the exact same," Curtin said. "It shows that we have depth."

emccarthy@phillynews.com

@ErinMcPSU