Sean Franklin's 70' goal from well outside the box was all the Los Angeles Galaxy needed, as the Galaxy defeated the Columbus Crew 1-0 on a Wednesday night in front of 24, 279 fans at the Home Depot Center. The defense, without it's star Omar Gonzalez was steady, and Josh Saunders came up big with six saves.
Sean Franklin's goal was his first in MLS play and his second for the LA Galaxy (he scored in last year's CONCACAF Champions' League). David Beckham took a free kick low and had it bounce of Columbus' wall. Beckham could have gotten to it, but he allowed it to roll to Franklin's feet. Franklin didn't hesitate, and he struck a daisy cutter that took a funny hop and went in over William Hesmer. That might be some baseball slang on a soccer blog, but it's the best way to describe what happened.
Landon Donovan played much better today than he had initially after coming back from the Gold Cup. It won't show up on the stat sheet, but he had a very good first half and a solid second half. He was creating chances for others, and his 6' effort was goal bound if it weren't for a deflection by a Columbus defender. The resulting corner kick was the first of 16 for the Galaxy tonight, nearly tying the MLS record of 19.
"They were pretty packed in there on corners, they did a good job of defending," said Manager Bruce Arena. "They've also got a 6'5" guy which makes things easier."
Juan Pablo Angel, who had a very forgettable match, was taken out in the 85' after limping around on the pitch. Angel had two shots tonight, one in the first half where Landon Donovan faked out his man so badly the defender fell over, and a second attempt in the second half where he gave the keeper a bounce pass with his head. Angel was playing so badly, the Riot Squad began chanting "We want Buddle". Both he and Miguel Lopez came out with what appeared to be injuries but Bruce Arena said they were just kicked and looked a little tired.
"We're doing okay," said Bruce Arena. "Juan Pablo had a couple good chances tonight, I think Miguel had a good one. We don't care who scores the goal...I could care less who scores the goal if it's our team that comes out on top."
Due to Juan Pablo's poor finishing, Miguel Lopez' chance in the 44' was the Galaxy's best chance in the first half. It took a great save from William Hesmer to keep Lopez' header out of the net. Adam Cristman, who scored two goals last week, was a little worse for wear after playing on the turf in Tukwila, Washington, but will hopefully get an extended look on top once he's back to proper form.
David Beckham will miss the team's next MLS match in Vancouver, due to a yellow card given in 92+ minute for delaying a restart. The referee drew the line on the pitch, but the player for Columbus kept stepping over it. Beckham refused to kick it until the ref got him behind the line, but ultimately the ref gave Beckham the yellow card. Bruce called it a poor way to manage a game, and he's right. If it took adding on another ten seconds or really anything but just throwing out the yellow, it was a poor way of managing a game in the late stages.
The next match for the team is Sunday against
Manchester United (edit: Manchester City. Man Utd wears red and defeats Seattle 7-0. Man City wears blue and struggles against Vancouver. My bad). Chris Birchall and David Beckham, who are both unavailable for the Vancouver match, are likely to see a good amount of playing time.
Goal: Sean Franklin, 70'
Cards: Sean Franklin 16' Reckless Tackle, Juninho 85' Reckless Foul, David Beckham 92+' Delaying a Restart