GOLETA, Calif. – In Friday’s preseason finale, LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena got a look a lineup that –aside from defender Omar Gonzalez—could be the club’s starting XI for the MLS regular season opener.
One potential starting partnership for the match against the Chicago Fire places Sean Franklin at right back and Michael Stephens in right midfield. Throughout the preseason, Mike Magee was pressed up top alongside Robbie Keane allowing Stephens to slot into a starting role with Franklin directly behind him.
Against the Rapids, Franklin and Stephens started strong, repeatedly putting Rapids’ left back Brian Mullan under pressure. However, as the match wore on, Colorado’s left flank accounted for the Galaxy pair and limited their effectiveness, but LA still ended the preseason on a winning note with a 2-1 victory.
With the regular season opener a week away, Franklin believes that establishing a solid partnership with Stephens is “all about repetition.”
“We’ve played a couple games together like that. It’s all about just talking and making sure that I’m putting him in the right spots. [Against Colorado], it worked well. If he comes in then I take the space and get behind him,” said Franklin. “It worked pretty well in the first half as we got behind their left back. He found me in good spots and it’s good to work with different players out there because sometimes it is Hector [Jimenez] or Mikey. It’s good that whoever is in that position that we’re able to talk and work well together.”