A new century for Sean Franklin
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy right back Sean Franklin hasn’t exactly been a poster child for the team’s improved play over the last two weeks, but there is no question his performances of late have mirrored the defending MLS Cup champions’ sudden turnaround.
“That’s the direction we’ve got to be going with everybody,” head coach Bruce Arena said Tuesday. “We’ve seen improvement by a lot of players over the last two, three weeks.”
Franklin couldn’t have picked a better time to be in better form, considering Saturday’s game against FC Dallas at The Home Depot Center should mark his 100th regular season appearance with the Galaxy.
It was in 2008 when the Galaxy made the former Cal State Northridge standout the fourth player taken overall in the MLS SuperDraft.
Franklin went on to win Rookie of the Year honors that season and, aside from various injuries – he missed four months in 2009 because of a torn right hamstring that required surgery – he has been a fixture at right back ever since.
Franklin said four-plus seasons have gone by almost in the blink of an eye. He still vividly remembers his first game with the Galaxy – “Our 2008 home opener against San Jose,” he said – and didn’t know about his milestone until someone told him.
“I’m just thankful I’ve been able to play 100 games,” he said. “I’m just glad I’ve had 100 with the LA Galaxy and I hope to have 100 more.
“It’s crazy. When people ask me how long I’ve played, I tell them it’s already been five years. It’s gone by so quick. I can remember my first game like it was yesterday.
“It’s been a fun time, and I’m looking forward to the next few years.”
Franklin said one game far and away stands out from all the others – last year’s MLS Cup championship at home against the Houston Dynamo. The Galaxy beat the Dynamo 1-0 that night to give the 27-year-old his first MLS Cup title.
“Because when we went (to the final) in 2009 and being so close to tasting that championship and not winning it, winning it last year was very special,” he said. “We were undefeated at home, we won the Supporters’ Shield, we advanced in the (CONCACAF) Champions League. We did everything we talked about as a team.
“It was just a special day. I knew that day was going to be our day.”
Franklin is one of only a few holdovers from when Arena took over the Galaxy in August of 2008, and Arena said he’s always been impressed with his speed.
“They say you can’t coach speed, and he has speed,” Arena said. “To utilize that speed, mentally he has to be right, technically he has to be right and obviously physically. There’s a lot of factors that go into speed. The components of speed are not only purely physical speed, it’s the mental and technical aspects.
“As long as he can keep growing in those two other areas his physical speed will be a factor in each and every game. It’s a great asset he has.”
Franklin is starting to put it to good use again this season, Arena added.
“He is turning the corner,” he said. “He’s much more focused and getting back in much better form.
“That’s a real positive.”
PHOTOS: SEAN FRANKLIN