CARSON, Calif. – A.J. DeLaGarza and Sean Franklin are no strangers to manning the LA Galaxy right flank, but after a successful stint out wide in Wednesday’s 7-2 preseason victory over UCLA, the position may just become common place for the pair in 2013.
During the match against UCLA, Sean Franklin was pushed up to right midfield while DeLaGarza slid from central defense out to right back. The move paid immediate dividends for LA as Franklin tallied two goals and both appeared active on both sides of the ball.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters on Wednesday that the switch was in part due to Robbie Keane’s absence due to a death in his family, which forced Mike Magee to pair up front with Jack McBean. However with second year defender Tommy Meyer continuing to develop and LA searching for wide depth, DeLaGarza and Franklin may be tasked with moving out to the right flank more in 2013.
“I think that it is an option for us,” said DeLaGarza. ”We have a lot of good talent and to get everyone on the field, you have to make some changes. I thought I did well today and Sean obviously did well. It’s something that we’ve done plenty and we’re used to it.”
Franklin in particular was incredibly effective against UCLA as he displayed chemistry with LA’s central midfield tandem of Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas while also connecting well with LA’s forward corps to create chances.
“It’s still new to me even though I’ve played there in spurts throughout the years,” said Franklin. “It’s a position that I enjoy and it’s a spot that I want to get better at if I am going to play there more than at right back this year.”
If Arena opts to place DeLaGarza at right back and Franklin in the midfield to start the season, the duo admit that there will be a transition, but both are confident that they can adapt to a new role.
“I still feel that right back is my best position and my most comfortable position,” said Franklin. “From a right back position, you see the game a little bit more. At right midfield, the game comes faster because it’s all about being quick with your decision-making. It’s something that I want to get better at as a player and contribute more to the team”
Added DeLaGarza, “I just hope to be on the field no matter where it is and wherever I can help out. It’s a totally different position so I have to change my mindset and my fitness level and I have to get into the attack. If I play there and get more comfortable then it will be first nature, but right now I’m more of a defensive player.”