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Galaxy Defeat Columbus Crew 1-0 On Late Goal

Jonathan Kendrick |
July 20, 2011 | 11:40 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

 

First time All-Star Franklin (right) showed why he's so valuable to his team. (Wikimedia Commons)
First time All-Star Franklin (right) showed why he's so valuable to his team. (Wikimedia Commons)
It appears that MLS play can cure whatever ails the Los Angeles Galaxy. 

After a week in which the Galaxy were knocked out of the U.S. Open Cup 3-1 by the Seattle Sounders and lost 4-1 to Real Madrid in a friendly, the club responded with a 1-0 home win over Columbus Wednesday night, extending its unbeaten run in league play to 13 matches. 

Freshly minted first-time All-Star Sean Franklin scored the game’s only goal in the 70th minute, driving a deflected shot past Columbus goalkeeper Will Hesmer and sending the majority of the 24,709 in attendance at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. home happy.

The goal was Franklin’s first ever in MLS and helped increase his team’s lead atop the MLS Western Conference to four points. 

“[Galaxy coach] Bruce [Arena] was saying if we had a chance to take shots, just shoot and see what happens,” Franklin said. “When there are a lot of bodies in front of the box, anything can happen.”

Los Angeles (11-2-9, 42 points) outshot Columbus (7-6-7, 28 points) 13-9 and had a season-high 16 corner kicks. 

“I think we can say that we got 16 corners and we got chances,” Galaxy midfielder David Beckham said. “We created enough chances to win the game tonight and I think we deserved to win the game.”

Columbus was hurt early when its leading goal scorer, Andres Mendoza, left with a leg injury in the game’s 4th minute.

Both clubs struggled to find opportunities early, until Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders nearly gifted away a goal in the 22nd minute. Crew midfielder Robbie Rogers’ wrong-footed Saunders with a shot from 35 yards out that the Galaxy keeper couldn’t hold on to. Saunders just beat Crew forward Tommy Heinemann to the rebound, ending the scoring chance.

Los Angeles attacked mainly down the flanks, piling up nine first half corner kicks. 

“It’s unfortunate on a night like tonight we didn’t have Omar [Gonzalez] because we weren’t all that dangerous on [corners],” Landon Donovan said, referring to the Galaxy’s 6-foot-5 defender, who is out with a broken nose. 

The club’s first good chance of the match came in the 30th minute, with Donovan leading a three-on-two fast break. Donovan’s midfield juke left the Crew’s Eric Gehrig on the ground before the Galaxy captain laid the ball off to a streaking Juan Pablo Angel down the right side. Angel’s chipped shot went over charging Crew keeper Hesmer and just wide of the far post.

“I’m trying to get a goal and it’s just not happening right now,” said Angel, who scored 58 league goals in four seasons for New York but has managed only three for the Galaxy this season. “I wish the season would have been a little bit different in terms of goals scored…but there are still a number of games left.”

The Galaxy were back in the 34th minute, when Beckham’s cross forced Crew defender Julius James to shank his clearance over his own crossbar.

Will Hesmer (Wikimedia Commons)
Will Hesmer (Wikimedia Commons)
Beckham played the ensuing corner kick on the ground to defender Franklin, whose low shot was saved by a diving Hesmer.  

Beckham and midfielder Jovan Kirovski put long distance shots over the Crew’s crossbar in the 39th and 40th minutes. 

Hesmer came up big right before halftime, pushing Miguel Lopez’s 44th minute looping header over the goal frame in one-handed, acrobatic fashion and sending the teams into the locker rooms tied at 0-0.

The Galaxy continued to provide Beckham with set piece opportunities in the second half. 

The English star chipped in a corner kick in the 55th minute that took a bounce in the middle of the box before Angel headed the ball down toward goal. Hesmer went to the ground to make the save. 

“We had some chances to get a goal in the first 60 minutes and make things easier on ourselves,” Arena said.

The dead ball chances finally paid off in the 70th minute, if only indirectly. Beckham’s free kick was blocked by the Crew’s wall, caroming out toward the top of the penalty box. Franklin, sprinting up from defense, blasted a low shot that deflected off of Gehrig and past Hesmer to give the Galaxy a 1-0 lead. 

Columbus went in search of an equalizer and came closest in the 80th minute. Rogers put in a floated cross from the left that a leaping Josh Gardner headed right at Saunders, who made an easy catch.

The Crew continued to attack but Saunders only had to deal with a weak shot from Heinemann in the 84th minute and a 90th minute loose ball in the penalty box that the Galaxy keeper beat Heinemann to and punched away.

The game ended on a sour note for Los Angeles, when Beckham picked up his eighth yellow card of the season in stoppage time for arguing with the referee about the position of the Columbus wall on a free kick. Beckham will be suspended for the Galaxy’s July 30th match in Vancouver against the expansion Whitecaps because of yellow card accumulation. 

 “I think that when [the referee] sprays the lines, you expect ten yards,” Beckham said, citing the rule that a defender must be ten yards from a free kick taker. “Their guy was two yards inside the line. I’m waiting for the referee to move him back and he decides to give me a card…another bad call by the referee. It’s just frustrating.”

Arena added: “It makes no sense at all. The referee should pay [Beckham’s] fine.”

News and Notes

(YoTuT via Creative Commons)
(YoTuT via Creative Commons)
The Galaxy return to action Sunday in a 1 p.m. friendly against English club Manchester City at the Home Depot Center. Sunday’s match will be the final game of Manchester City’s pre-season tour of the United States, which has also included wins over Mexico’s Club America and MLS’s Vancouver Whitecaps. Arena said his team will be better prepared for this game than the friendly loss to Real Madrid, citing a better injury situation and the fact that the team won’t be travelling. “I’m going to do everything I can to get these guys ready,” Arena said.

Angel left Wednesday’s match in the 85th minute with an injured Achilles and later limped out of the locker room. No official word was given on his status. Arena said Gonzalez (nose fracture) could play some minutes in Sunday’s friendly and that reserve forward Adam Cristman is day-to-day with an abdominal injury. Striker Chad Barrett sat out Wednesday’s match with a knee sprain.

The LA Galaxy Academy’s under-16 team won the U.S. Soccer Development Academy national championship on Saturday, defeating Pennsylvania’s PA Classics 4-1 in the final in Milwaukee, Wis. The national title was the first in club history at the under-16 level.

MLS finalized its game day roster this week for next Wednesday’s All-Star game against Manchester United. Midfielders Donovan and Beckham and defender Franklin will represent the Galaxy in the match, which will be played at Red Bull Arena in New York. Los Angeles defender Gonzalez was voted in to the game by fan voting but won’t play because of his nose fracture. 

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