MLS Cup: Cristman ready to step in for Barrett


                   Photo by ISIPhotos.com


CARSON, Calif. – The Los Angeles Galaxy may boast a star-studded lineup, but it's who is not going to be on the field that may prove the difference for the Galaxy come MLS Cup.

The Galaxy will need to replace forward Chad Barrett, who was ruled out of Sunday's MLS Cup Final due a dislocated right ankle. The prospect of dealing with injuries is not a new one to the Galaxy, who have repeatedly called upon their bench to lead them in important matches.

The most likely option is Adam Cristman, who was a starter prior to Barrett's late season resurgence. The burly 6-foot forward enjoyed a productive season for the Galaxy appearing in 11 league matches and five in the CONCACAF Champions League scoring two goals in all competitions. Cristman did not appear for the Galaxy until late summer after returning from a knee injury that had him on the disabled list until May.

“It's unfortunate that Chad is not available for this game, but our season has been this. When we need to replace a player, the next guy steps up and gets the job done,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “We have plenty of options and haven't made a decision yet, but I think that we'll have a good choice.”

Known for his hardwork and physical play, Cristman believes that he can help contribute to the Galaxy on Sunday.

“I have to do the things that allow me to be the player that I am and help out the team, the best that I can,” said Cristman. “I think that this game could lend to me being a good potential player against their big backs. It suits my style of play, but we'll see how it goes and ultimately I just need to do what I do.”

Vital to Cristman's potential inclusion will be his chemistry with star forward Robbie Keane. Cristman and Keane have experience playing alongside one another in important matches. The most significant being the Galaxy's August Champions League fixture in Morelia. Cristman earned the start in Mexico and appearing to compliment Keane's speed well with his physical play.

“The few games that we play together, I feel good playing with him,” Cristman said of Keane. “He's a talented guy and loves to around the goal. if I can be out there and take pressure off of him and fight for balls and give him some space to work against their backs then that's the best for him and he'll get his chances to score.”

While it remains to be seen if Cristman is Arena's choice alongside Keane come Sunday, the burly forward is ready to play if called upon.

“Obviously, I want to play and I'm ready and I'm focusing on being on the field,” said Cristman. “Regardless of if its a biggest game, it's just a game on Sunday and for us, we approach it like we're going to win that game. We've done that all year and we all have to be ready.”

  • Indigo Montoya

    Robbie Keane will score a winner in the final – and this is coming from a ‘Quakes supporter. It won’t matter whether it’s Barrett or Christman alongside him. Sorry, Dynaquakes, the Irish maestro will do you in.


  • Javier

    I wasn’t a big Chad Barrett fan. I always felt he was over rated and too much of an under achiever. I think his time with the Galaxy has made him a better player. I think he’s got more skill than Cristman but I think his finishing is still lacking. I also believe he has helped out the Galaxy.

    I’ve liked Cristman from his time with the Revolution. I really like his work rate, and how hard he fights to win the ball. I don’t think he’s got Barret’s speed or skill, but I agree that he seems to partner better with Keane. Cristman is the type of center forward that plays well with his back to the goal, wins balls up top, holds the ball, then usually makes good decisions whether to shoot or pass the ball.

    Donovan is arguably the best U.S. player and his reputation speaks for itself. That said, at times he seems reluctant to take on players and attack the goal, like he did during the WC in Germany. He also fades in and out of games. I think he’s better playing more as a withdrawn forward behind the two forwards up top. But putting him there means there are formation questions to work out.

    The Galaxy also have Miguel Lopez who’s good, but not the caliber of the other forwards.

    There’s good options to face Houston, but Houston has a solid defense and will challenge any forwards including Keane the Galaxy put up top.

    The Galaxy are definitely missing two high quality forwards who could pair with Keane. Get those two players and keep Beckham & Donovan (should LD do what he needs to do and move to England to play) and the Galaxy could beat any team in this league.


  • Brian

    meh. at this point it doesn’t matter who lines up next to Keane. Galaxy will EASILY win by two goals. Mark my words :)


  • Citronomics

    Christian had a “productive” season? Really – by what reasonable standard? Common SBI. I’m a fan, but that characterization is not solid reporting.

    Meant constructively. Cheers.


  • Pierre

    Lopez isn’t a finisher, he’s better in the midfield but not the creator that Cardozo from Quilmes is.


  • DC Josh

    I chuckled when I saw the headline. Cristman isn’t the best option, and that’s putting it lightly. Although, all he needs to do is beat up on the center backs, and knock some balls down to Keane, Donovan, and Beckham.


  • epablo

    why is everyone hating on cristman? Even my galaxy brothers are. Look if you have watched enough of his games you would know that cristman has done a great job of holding the ball up top to give keane space for his menacing runs. End of story. He doesnt score in bunches but he does his job well. Cardozo has no chance against houston’s big defenders. no chance.


  • Gnarls

    Magee is clutch from anywhere Bruce plays him, so that might work. I think “anyone but Cristman” is the best policy at this point.


  • Gnarls

    As your Galaxy brother, I must clarify. Cristman is valuable for his size, which may play well against this allegedly physical Houston team, but his lack of speed is a liability. How many times have we seen Cristman out of position due to his big, lumbering frame weighing too damn much to catch up with a through ball? Several.

    Magee or LD could move up to forward and Cardozo could play mid.


  • epablo

    and this pretty much supports what i said. It is going to be a physcial game against Houston. They outmuscled philly because all their offensive weapons (Adu, torres, letoux,and etc) were too small against Houston’s defense. So cardozo would be useless up top. Start cristman first to fight Houston’s backline. And than in the late 2nd half sub out cristman with cardozo only to switch donovan to the top and cardozo to the wing.


  • josh

    As a keeper who just dug 4 balls out of the back of my net last night, I can attest that small forwards can be very effective against big defenders.


  • JesseMT

    In the caveman’s defense, he was the best Galaxy player in the one match I saw them play in person in this year – at Starfire in their Open Cup loss to the Sounders. I think he scored a goal in that match too.

    I’d definitely start Magee or Donovan up top though if I were Bruce.


  • Edwin in LA

    That guy Messi and his buddies Sjneider, Villa, Iniesta, Sanchez seem to do okay.. they’re pretty small, it’s about movement, Philly just tried to foul Houston, Nowak needed to play Torres and Adu more, especially in the 2nd leg.

    If LA maintain possession and work on defense like they have all year, it won’t matter, it will matter who can make the runs, bring down long Beckham or Donovan passes and shoot past the keeper and not AT HIM


  • Gnarls

    … which bring this whole discussion full circle because Barrett is notorious for volleying shots right at GKs. I get the epablo’s argument, but if I were Bruce Arena, I’d take a chance on a finisher like Cardozo rather than a big slow target like Cristman.


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