It wasn’t perfect, but it was certainly an impressive LA Galaxy debut for Christian Wilhelmsson.
In his first match, the Swede was given the start and made an immediate impact as he repeatedly created opportunities for teammates and showed a willingness to help out on both sides of the ball. But his finest moment came in the 58th minute when he scored his first career goal, going around a pair of defenders before firing a slow shot that trickled into the back of the net.
While it wasn’t a flawless sixty minutes of action, Wilhelmsson was pleased with his performance.
“It was nice to be out there. I didn’t think that I would score today, but it was special,” Wilhelmsson told reporters after the match. “I’m just happy that we got the three points and I got the goal.”
FROM THE INSIDER: Wilhelmsson on his LA Galaxy debut
As can be expected in his first league match with the club, there were some kinks in Wilhelmsson’s appearance as right back Sean Franklin and the Swede had several discussions about their positioning on the flanks. However, as the match wore on, the comfort level between the two players increased.
“We talked about talking [on the field] and when he’s going to the side, I’m making sure that I’m getting around him,” said Franklin. “I thought it was good tonight and I’m looking forward to playing more games with him.”
While the Swede was effective on both sides of the ball, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena admitted that the LA needed to be cautious with a player that is still working his way back into regular season fitness.
“We went into the game hoping that we’d get sixty minutes out of him and we managed that,” Arena. “Obviously the goal was an important goal. Probably not the best goal in his career, but we’re going to take it, it was an important goal for our team tonight. I think that he’s going to be a good addition for our team.
“He showed experience on the field, excellent first touch. He understands how to play on both sides of the ball so I think that he’s certainly going to be a player that is going to help us in the stretch run.”
After his first debut, Wilhelmsson admitted to the media throng that descended on his locker that the best is still very much yet to come.
“From time to time, [I connected with my teammates] alright,” said Wilhelmsson. “There were some misunderstandings sometimes, but I’ve been here two weeks and we’re getting to know each other more and more every day. It will be better. Absolutely.”