LOS ANGELES — The World Football Challenge provides opportunities for American fans to watch some of the best teams and players from abroad. For LA Galaxy forward Adam Cristman, the tournament set up a splendid personal accomplishment against a Spanish powerhouse from La Liga.
Trailing 4-0 midway through the second half of Saturday’s WFC match against Real Madrid at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Cristman headed a rebounded shot into the back of the net. Although the Galaxy lost the match 4-1, the goal ensured that Cristman would take away at least one special moment from the match.
“In a friendly match and against an opponent like that, it’s in a different category,” Cristman said. “But it’s definitely one of the better moments in my career for sure.”
Real Madrid showed their flair and muscle in the match, displaying a pair of delightful first-half goals from José Callejón and Joselu, a stunning effort by Cristian Ronaldo and a splendid build-up and finish by Karim Benzema.
But Cristman helped the Galaxy save some face. In the 67th minute, Jovan Kirovski fired a shot on second-half substitute Antonio Adán, whose initial save bounced up to Cristman.
“I’m doing my job as a forward just to be in the box and to be in dangerous spots and put away rebounds," Cristman said. "It fell perfectly to my head and I’m thankful for it.”
The goal caused an immediate stir, not only in the stadium where Cristman drew loud cheers from many of the 56,211 in attendance, but also across the world. “Cristman” was a worldwide trending topic on Twitter.
“That’s pretty funny,” said Cristman, whose Twitter handle is @galaxyAC17. “What am I supposed to tweet to that?”
While he drew some instant fame on Twitter, Cristman hopes the goal will help to open doors for regular-season play. The forward, who also scored in last week’s 3-1 US Open Cup loss to Seattle, struggled to overcome a knee injury and regain his fitness. However, he has managed to do so as of late, earning playing time in the Reserve League and making two appearances in regular-season play.
Perhaps knocking in a goal against Real Madrid will show what he has to offer.
“I’ve had a couple of tough years with injuries and it’s been a slow climb back in,” Cristman added. “I’m feeling better and better, getting more confident and feeling stronger, and hopefully it’s one more reason for the coaches to put me out on the field for league games.”