Franklin Gives Galaxy Edge Against Salt Lake

LA wins first leg as they head to Utah in hopes of advancing to Western Conference finals
by Jamie Pham   |   Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Galaxy of Angels – column on Los Angeles Galaxy (LA Galaxy) & the LA soccer scene.

CARSON, Calif. – The Los Angeles Galaxy left the sold out StubHub Center Sunday night with an edge over their Conference rivals, Real Salt Lake.

Although, they won 1-0 on a beautiful strike by Sean Franklin in the 47th minute, they missed a ton of opportunities to add to score sheet, which could end up being crucial when they play the second leg on Thursday at Rio Tinto Stadium.

RSL’s manager, Jason Kreis, put out a 4-2-3-1 formation with Yordany Alvarez and Kyle Beckmerman in the central defensive midfield role to try and suppress Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan.

They have only played in this formation once before this game and it showed. Beckerman, who used to be the lone center defensive midfielder, now had to share it with Alvarez, which caused some confusion in the midfield at times.

The Galaxy ended up taking advantage of this gaining a bulk of the possession before Kreis abandoned the formation around the 60th minute.

Keane and Donovan played pretty well with a lot of energy and created good chances for each other, but neither of them could find the back of the net. They did try pretty hard, though, but it just wasn’t their night. Keane also seemed a little unsure with himself when he was in the box as he took one too many touches a few times and even missed a volley right in front of goal, which does not happen very often.

"We put a lot of pressure on them throughout the night, so there's going to be some cracks," Donovan said. "Robbie and I need to do a better job with our counterattacks. Usually we're better than that. I have a feeling we're going to have a lot more chances Thursday as the game goes on as they open up and expose themselves, and we're fine with that."

RSL tried to equalize by bringing on Robbie Findley and Sebastian Velasquez and had a few good chances. But like Keane and Donovan, they couldn’t score as well.

The lone goal of the match came when Keane had the ball by RSL’s left post and then passed the ball to the top of the box. Franklin, who was unmarked, sprinted up to the ball, squared up, and fired of a 30-yard dazzling curve ball that RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando could do nothing about.

"Our team played well tonight,” said Galaxy manager Bruce Arena. “Certainly had a chance to score a few more goals. It was a good effort for ninety minutes. As expected, the return game will be a difficult one as well."

And even though they lost, RSL could not be angry about the result heading back to Rio Tinto for the 2nd leg, as they only need to beat the Galaxy by only two goals to move onto the Western Conference Finals.

“I think it’s a fantastic result for us,” Rimando said. “Looking back at the chances they had, 1-0 at halftime, I’m happy with it because it could have been a lot worse and we just have to build on and watching tape on what we have to do better.”

NEXT UP: November 7 – MLS playoffs: Real Salt Lake vs LA Galaxy, Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah. 9 p.m. EST, ESPN2.

Jamie PHAM

Nationality:
USA
College:
Pasadena City College
Club Domestic:
LA Galaxy
Club Foreign:
Arsenal
Former tour manager turned sports blogger, Jamie spends loads of time reviewing the Los Angeles sports scene and is a big MLS and USMNT supporter.
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