WHO: Sean Franklin
WHEN: Sunday, November 3
WHERE: vs. Real Salt Lake – Western Conference Semifinal Series – First Leg – StubHub Center
WHAT: During the LA Galaxy’s run to the 2011 and 2012 MLS Cup titles, timely goal scoring had been a hallmark of their postseason play. However, in 10 playoff games during those two years, 18 of the club’s 19 goals had come courtesy of the trio of Landon Donovan (5), Robbie Keane (7) and Mike Magee (6). With Magee now plying his trade in Chicago, a new attacking option would need to step forward as the Galaxy opened the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs at home against Real Salt Lake in the first leg of their Western Conference Semifinals Series.
Throughout the first half of the game, the Galaxy were able to get around and through the Salt Lake defense, but the final ball left something to be desired and they were unable to break the deadlock. As the second half opened, LA knew that they would need to be sharper in the final third if they were to go into Rio Tinto Stadium for the second leg a few days later with a lead. But what they did not know was that it would be an unlikely source that provided the breakthrough.
Just minutes after the restart, Robbie Keane collected a pass on the left wing but as he advanced along the endline and toward the penalty area, he found his options limited with seven RSL defenders crowding the box. Instead of attempting a low percentage cross or dribbling back and awaiting reinforcements, Keane clipped a pass into space in the center of the field, roughly 30 yards from goal for Sean Franklin. With acres of space around him, Franklin hit a powerful, right-footed shot first time, sending it whipping past Nick Rimando and giving the Galaxy a 1-0 lead.
The first postseason goal of Franklin’s MLS career, that would unfortunately be the final goal that the Galaxy would score in 2013 as they would go on to lose the second leg 2-0 in extra time in Salt Lake City. Additionally, that would be Franklin’s final goal for the Galaxy as he was selected by D.C. United in the Re-Entry Process just more than a month later.
To see the rest of the candidates for LA Galaxy Goal of the Year, go to LAGalaxy.com/GOTY.