CARSON, Calif. – For most of 2011, the right side of the LA Galaxy’s formation has been Sean Franklin’s territory.
A knee injury has kept Franklin’s pace, crosses and Mohawk off the field recently, but if the 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year has it his way, he will be back with a couple of games to spare before the Supporters’ Shield-winners hit the postseason.
“I want to be back before the playoffs,” Franklin said. “It would be nice to get a game with the guys, just so I’m on the same page in the playoffs. I’m hoping as early as the game in Honduras [in Champions League against Motagua on Oct. 20]. If not, I’m pushing for the Houston game [on Oct. 23].”
If Franklin’s hopes come to pass, he will at least have some time to get re-acquainted with his teammates, as the Galaxy play their first playoff game the weekend of Oct. 29-30.
And he may need that time. After missing out on LA’s Sept. 13 match against Morelia in Mexico, Frankling was initially ruled out for two to three weeks, but the injury is now dragging on for its fourth week. If Franklin does return for the Galaxy’s match at Motagua, he will have gone more than one month between games.
“I’m itching to get back out on the field,” he said.
Not that the Galaxy have suffered unduly with Franklin out. The Philadelphia Union’s 2-0 win over the Seattle Sounders last Saturday earned LA their second consecutive Shield. With MLS Cup 2011 being hosted at The Home Depot Center, the Galaxy will truly have home-field advantage for as long as they stay alive in the playoffs.
"It’s great for our team and for our organization,” Franklin said. “It’s two years in a row now that we’ve been the best team. We’ve proven that. We did get a little help with Seattle losing but we definitely take pride in being the best team in the league.”
Like other players on the roster, Franklin has done his share to pitch in. Despite the injury, Franklin has appeared in 27 matches, equaling his previous high set in 2008 when he won rookie honors. Perhaps more impressively, Franklin has scored four goals this year. He entered the year never having scored a goal in MLS.
“This year has been a huge year for our character,” Franklin said. “Guys have been away on international duty, injuries and guys who haven’t seen the field this year, they’ve had their chance to get their minutes in and they’ve done well. It just shows that everyone is on the same page, everyone wants the same goal – us being in first place and us doing well. It just shows that Bruce has built a team that on any given day we can put a team out there and be successful.”