Galaxy are confident they can control Seattle’s wingers in second leg on Sunday
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy defender Sean
Franklin finally watched a replay of last Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Seattle
Sounders FC in the first leg of his club’s home-and-home Western Conference
Semifinal Series and came away with two observations.
First, he was impressed by
the Galaxy’s overall effort that night.
“I thought, ‘Wow, we worked
really hard,’ ” he said.
Second, he remembered how
tired he was at the end of the match.
“Running on that turf takes
a toll on you,” he said with a grin about the FieldTurf surface at Qwest Field.
The rematch takes place on
Sunday at 6 p.m. on grass at The Home Depot Center, with the Galaxy needing
only a tie to advance to their second straight Western Conference Championship.
Franklin and his teammates are
expecting another difficult test trying to control the Sounders’ speedy
wingers. The Galaxy more than met that challenge last Sunday with the likes of
Seattle’s Sanna Nyassi and Steve Zakuani totaling just two shots between them.
Nyassi, in fact, didn’t have
a single shot attempt and was eventually replaced by Alvaro Fernandez in the
“We knew they were going to
press us, and a lot of their strengths come from the outside,” he said. “We
just have to be ready for the same thing this weekend.”
While Franklin was controlling things at his
position of right back, veteran Eddie Lewis was handling matters on the left.
The 36-year-old, who recently announced his decision to retire following the
completion of the season, got the nod to replace the usual starter at left back
Todd Dunivant once Dunivant was ruled out with a hamstring strain. Lewis was
informed of Arena’s decision about five minutes before the team’s pregame meal
at 2 p.m.
It was Lewis’ first start in
an MLS game since the opening game of the regular season on March 27. The
popular veteran said he had a healthy appetite when he was given the news.
“I think I ate extra well,”
he said smiling. “I figured I better fuel up because I have to get my running
shoes on. These things happen all the time. That’s why you always keep one eye
on things in case you get the call.”
Dunivant said he was never
concerned that Lewis would not be up to the task at such short notice.
“Eddie’s been around a long
time and knows how to play,” Dunivant said. “He’s a gamer and he did the job.
He hasn’t started a match in a long time, but he stepped into a playoff game in a
very difficult situation against some very fast players and Eddie completely
shut them down.”
Dunivant said he felt
something give in his hamstring on Thursday, trained on Friday and Saturday and
noticed it was getting worse.
“We kind of decided on
Sunday it didn’t make sense to play through that,” Dunivant said. “Potentially
I’d be out for the rest of the playoffs and potentially put our team in danger
as well. I didn’t want to go out there for 10 minutes and then get subbed.
That’s not good.”
Dunivant, who had an MRI
this week, has trained with the club throughout the week and is optimistic he
can return to the field on Sunday.
But if Dunivant is not ready
to go against the Sounders, Lewis said he is ready to fill the void once again.
“We’ll see,” Lewis said.
“Bruce has talked all season about the strength of the squad and kind of the
way he’s built the team. You hope a guy can step in, even under difficult
circumstances, and carry on.
“Last week it worked out
quite well, and we’ll see how this week plays out.”
The Galaxy are ahead
1-0 on aggregate goals in the series and host Seattle in the second game
of the two-leg, home-and-home Western Conference Semifinals on Sunday,
7 at 6 p.m. PT on ESPN. BUY
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