By Alex Baker
Alan Cristman provided the sole bright spot for the LA Galaxy Saturday night, with a second half header that put his side on the scoreboard after they’d surrendered four goals to a rampant Real Madrid.
Saturday’s match marked the second summer in a row the Galaxy had met the Spanish powerhouse in friendly competition. But unlike last summer’s fixture at the Rose Bowl, when the Galaxy managed to go two up in the first half before eventually losing 3-2, this time the Spanish side exerted their dominance from the start.
Goals for Real Madrid seemed to rain in from all over the pitch. The first two came in rapid succession from Jose Callejon and Joselu just past the midway point of the first half. Kaka, who’d been out with an injury when the teams met last summer, made an appearance this time. The Brazilian playmaker was highly influential throughout the first half, pestering the Galaxy defense with telling passes, tricky dribbles and penetrating runs.
But the star turn of the match was put in by Cristiano Ronaldo. Coming in as a substitute in the second half, the former World Player of Year danced his way around three Galaxy defenders before firing in an angled shot that rocketed into the far corner making it 3-0 Real Madrid.
Madrid scored again when Karim Benzema converted a header just before the hour mark to make it 4-0.
Despite going down four goals and the seeming ineffectualness of star players like David Beckham and Landon Donovan, the Galaxy kept their heads up and continued to press their case. Head coach Bruce Arena made several substitutions in the second half, providing junior members of the squad the opportunity to mix it up with the world’s best.
Cristman’s header came late in the game. The player was lurking unmarked inside the six when he redirected a save from Real Madrid backup keeper Antonio Adan into the back of the net to make it 4-1.
Disappointing as it was for Galaxy fans, Saturday’s result in says little about the Galaxy’s current MLS form. With the exception of Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea and AC Milan, there are few teams in the world that can be faulted for losing to Jose Mourinho’s multi-million euro Real Madrid side. The Spanish club looked to be firing on all cylinders and seem poised to provide Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona with the sternest test they have yet to face in their quest to maintain dominance in Spain and Europe.
The Galaxy meanwhile, who are entrenched atop of the Western Conference standings in MLS, will likely expect to return to winning ways as they welcome the Columbus Crew to the Home Depot Center this Wednesday. That match comes in advance of another friendly, against Manchester City, that the Galaxy will be hosting at the Home Depot Center on Sunday.