Sunday, February 5, 2012
GALAXY: Good start for Cristman
By Scott French
CARSON -- Adam Cristman knows the first half of the first game in preseason is no arbiter of anything particularly important, but he had good reason to be pleased with his start in the battle for playing time up top.
Edson Buddle's arrival has narrowed opportunities for his fellow Galaxy forwards, but there are 41 games to be played -- and Irishman Robbie Keane, who will join Buddle in the first-choice pair, will miss a good chunk of the season leading to and during the European Championship in June.
Cristman, a big forward whose ability to hold the ball and play simply provide value, scored two goals and set up Paolo Cardozo for another while playing the first 45 minutes in Friday's 7-2 rout of the L.A. Blues at Home Depot Center.
“You look at our roster now, we've added Buddle and Pat [Noonan, acquired from Seattle during the re-entry phase],” Cristman said. “We truly have between Robbie, Edson, Chad [Barrett], Pat, myself and [Mike] Magee six really quality guys [at forward]. It's going to be tough [to get onto the field], so getting results and getting on the ends of those chances is important.”
Cristman forgot captain Landon Donovan, a top-level forward who for the past two seasons [and now on loan at Everton] has manned the right side of midfield, where he'll likely be stationed again this year. Magee, too, is primarily a midfielder these days -- he scored 15 goals across all games last year from, mostly, the left side of midfield -- but the point is made: There is an abundance of attacking talent.
Cristman, 27, who arrived a year ago in a trade from D.C. United, was limited by injury and opportunity to 11 league appearances in 2011, but he started five CONCACAF Champions League games and played in three playoff games, starting the final after a dislocated ankle forced Barrett out. He was the only Galaxy player to score in every competition -- Major League Soccer, Champions League, U.S. Open Cup and MLS Reserve League -- and in friendlies, eight in all.
His goals against the Blues required the simplest of finishes. Cardozo, with a can't-miss shot himself, instead fed Cristman in the 36th minute (a gift repaid six minutes later). Sean Franklin's ball into the goalmouth in the 45th was a high-powered tap-in.
“Those things are good,” Cristman said. “Confidence-building, ultimately, is a matter of coming out and playing and doing your job. I felt confident ass well just holding up the ball and helping create those chances for the team by allowing us to move up [the field].
“Just like last year, we've got a lot of games ahead, so it's going to rely on everyone pulling their weight. When guys are injured or out of fitness, other guys will step up. It's good for me personally to do my job and for the team just to get used to it.”
WORTH NOTING: Brazilian midfielder Marcelo Sarvas sums up preseason: “Always a hard job, a moment to suffer a little bit.” ... Barrett appears to be running and full speed and is on schedule to start ball work this week. ... Buddle arrived in L.A. on Friday night and will have his first practice Monday morning, followed by a news conference. We'll see if he's ready to play in Tuesday's closed-door game against the Portland Timbers.
ELSEWHERE: In other MLS news ...
- Portland announced that new Designated Player Jose Adolfo Valencia, a 20-year-old Colombian forward, will undergo surgery Monday to repair torn cartilage in his left knee and will be out six to 12 months. Valencia, the son of former Colombian national team star Adolfo Valencia (who spent 2000-01 in MLS with the MetroStars), is on loan from Santa Fe but will rehab in Portland and remain with the Timbers. The injury was discovered the first day of the physical testing and identified by MRI.
- Colorado signed technical director Paul Bravo, the Galaxy's former director of soccer, to a three-year contract extension. Bravo was a star forward for the Rapids for five seasons before retiring in 2001.
- Colorado mutually parted company with English/Irish forward Caleb Folan, whom former coach Gary Smith last year brought to Denver.
- Orange's Danny Califf (Orange HS) has been appointed captain of the Philadelphia Union. The former Galaxy defender was the club's captain in 2010, its inaugural season, but Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who departed last week, wore the armband in 2011.