CARSON, Calif. – The defending MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy can’t help but think about the past.
Yes, there was a disturbing 4-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC on Aug. 5 at CenturyLink Field, arguably the team’s lowest point of the season. But that’s not what they’re thinking about this week.
Well, maybe a little.
“That was earlier in the year when our team wasn’t in the best form,” right back Sean Franklin admitted Wednesday as the Galaxy prepared for Sunday’s second leg of the Western Conference Championship against the Sounders.
The five-year veteran and 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year did, however, say he and his teammates can’t help but think of and draw comparisons to another Seattle game, one which the Galaxy were not even a part of.
It was Nov. 2, 2011 when the Sounders hosted Real Salt Lake in the second leg of their Western Conference Semifinal Series at CenturyLink Field. The Sounders had dropped the first game of the aggregate goal series 3-0 five days earlier and appeared to be in big trouble heading into the second leg.
The Sounders, though, had other ideas. Seattle won the second leg 2-0 behind goals from Osvaldo Alonso and Lamar Neagle, and only a stunning, headed clearance off the goal line by RSL defender Tony Beltran on a volley by Seattle’s Jeff Parke in the 36th minute prevented possible extratime to decide matters.
“I remember watching that game,” Franklin said. “I think they had almost 30 some shots” – actually a 26-4 advantage -- “and I think it’s going to be a game similar to that one.
“For them, they have confidence. They know how close they were last year to coming from a 3-0 deficit. We know it’s going to be a tough game Sunday.”
And one the Galaxy plans to play smart, he said.
“We don’t want to go out and obviously open ourselves up. We know they’re going to be throwing numbers up front. It’s all about sticking to our game plan and making sure we’re not opening up big holes for them to get through.”
Franklin also said the Galaxy is ready to do whatever it takes to win. Some players might be less than 100 percent – Franklin, for example, missed the Knockout Round win over Vancouver with a tight left hamstring – but now is not the time for excuses.
“At this time of year everyone’s bothered by a little bit of something,” he said. “It’s all about being smart and doing the right things to get healthy.
“You just have to be smart and not put players in a position on the field where they can get hurt worse.”