A sun-splashed crowd estimated at more than 40,000 showed up at Dodger Stadium on Saturday to see Cristiano Ronaldo play in the first soccer game in the ballpark's storied 51-year history. And the Real Madrid striker didn't disappoint, scoring one goal and assisting on another to lead the Spanish club to a 2-1 victory over Everton in a semifinal matchup of the International Champions Cup.
Real Madrid moves on to Miami, where it will play Wednesday in the final against the winner of Sunday's game between Chelsea and AC Milan.
Fittingly the first goal in Dodger Stadium history went to the most celebrated player in the game, with Ronaldo scoring in the 17th minute.
The Portuguese star was dangerous throughout the first half, creating half a dozen good scoring opportunities, most of which ended in frustration. He sent a ball well over the goal in the 10th minute, then found the back of the net in the 14th minute only to be called offside.
But he would not be denied on his next opportunity, running on to a through pass from Mesut Ozil on the right wing. That drew out goalkeeper Tim Howard, so Ronaldo slipped the ball under Howard and into the net.
When Ronaldo scored he was standing about where right fielder Yasiel Puig normally does when the Dodgers are on the field. Last week, Ronaldo and Puig formed the battery for the first-pitch ceremony before a Dodgers game with the soccer player sailing his throw well over Puig's head to the backstop.
Everton nearly tied the score in the 24th minute when Marouane Fellaini's header off a corner kick beat goalkeeper Iker Casillas. But the ball clanged off the right goalpost. Casillas was beaten again in the 30th minute on another header, this one from Sylvain Distin, but the Everton defender was called for pushing off and the goal was disallowed.
Given a reprieve, Real Madrid doubled its advantage a minute later, with Ozil doing the honors after taking a pass from Ronaldo.
Ronaldo, the subject of persistent transfer rumors that have him moving to Manchester United, played a little more than 10 minutes into the second half before leaving in favor of Jese Rodriguez. Two minutes later, Everton cut the lead in half with Steven Naismith heading the ball toward the center of the 18-yard box, where Nikica Jelavic redirected it into the net with a sweeping left-footed shot.
Phil Jagielka had a chance to tie the score in the 78th minute but his diving header off a corner missed wide right.