To say that this has been a good month for Adam Cristman would be an understatement.
Forced into the Galaxy starting lineup for MLS Cup following the injury to Chad Barrett, Cristman won his first MLS Cup as the Galaxy beat Houston 1-0 on November 20. That win came just five days after Cristman and his wife celebrated the birth of their second child and their first son.
Those celebrations continued on the club’s Asia Pacific Tour, where Cristman was able to celebrate those accomplishments, not only with his current Galaxy teammates, but as well as with a number of familiar faces from his past.
Long before the team departed for the start of the tour late last month, Cristman knew that he would be facing his former D.C. United teammate Danny Allsopp when the Galaxy face the Melbourne Victory. However, after starting the first game of the tour in Indonesia, nearly setting up a pair of first half goals while also hitting a shot off the crossbar, Cristman learned that he would be facing an old friend from his past in Manila a few days later.
Nate Burkey, a Philipino-American who was raised in Virginia and played college soccer at Virginia Commonwealth, plays his club soccer in the Philippines with Kaya FC while also representing the nation, earning three caps for the Azkals. But before he could do all of that, Burkey played for an All-State team in Virginia alongside Cristman.
“I didn’t realize that he was there, but he had gotten in touch with A.J. [DeLaGarza] on Twitter and he told him to tell me that he’s here and to get in contact with him,” Cristman said. “Then, before the game I went down to their locker room to say hello to him and I found out that Lex [Lexton Moy] was on the team as well.”
Neither Cristman, Burkey or Moy, who was also on that same state team as Burkey and Cristman, started the game, but Cristman came on at halftime and scored a pair of goals to help LA claim a 6-1 win. Burkey and Moy each came on late in the second half of that game, getting a taste of playing against their former teammate and the rest of the MLS Cup champs.
“To see two guys from my state team in Manila was the last thing that I expected. It was funny to be so far away from home yet still comes across people that I knew and played with when I was younger,” said Cristman. “I swapped shirts with one of their other guys, but I got Nate’s too, so I’m excited to have that. It was just cool to catch up with those guys and know that we’ve all be able to make it this far in the game.”
He was also able to see what drew them to the Philippines and can fully understand why the pair have chosen to play there for both club and country.
“I found Manila to be a really nice see and I can see why those guys would choose to play for the country and for the clubs that they do there.”
Cristman’s reunion tour continued when the Galaxy arrived in Australia with the forward scheduled to face off against his former D.C. United teammate Danny Allsopp, who returned to Australia this winter after playing for United in 2010. The pair were coached by Curt Onalfo at the start of that season (as was Brazilian midfielder Fred, who plays for Melbourne’s second team, Melbourne Heart) and quickly became friends.
“I’ve been messaging with him ever since the game was announced,” Cristman said of Allsopp before the game. “He was one of my closer friends with the team last year, we’d always go get coffee or go for walks and he’s just a great guy. I know that he was excited to be able to come back to his club here. He was always really friendly, would always say hi or joke around with somebody. He had one of the driest senses of humor that a person can have, if you can understand him. He’s got the accent and he mumbles a lot, like [Dan] Keat on our team really.”
The pair each started the game with Cristman coming off at halftime while Allsopp played the full 90 minutes, constantly threatening the Galaxy goal. Following the game, the friends swapped shirts and chatted throughout the postgame ceremonies, bringing the tour to a perfect close for the Galaxy forward.