At the start of the season, Sean Franklin was a fixture in the Los Angeles Galaxy’s starting lineup.
The third-year defender seemed to have put last season’s health concerns behind him and had contributed a pair of assists through three games.
In the Galaxy’s fourth match of the season, however, Franklin went down with an ankle injury and his long-term prognosis was immediately questioned.
But despite the initial concerns that he would be sidelined for a significant amount of time, Franklin has battled back and returned to the Galaxy having missed five games. Against Boca Juniors on Sunday, Franklin played all 90 minutes.
Watch: HIGHLIGHTS: LA 1, Boca 0
“Last week I got 20 minutes against FC Dallas and we talked about just trying to build some minutes for me,” Franklin said. “I went the full 90 [Sunday] and felt okay, a little tired, a little sore but as I take these next days off and get ready to travel up to Columbus hopefully I can recover well … If called upon, hopefully I can do the same and produce the same.”
Right back has been shared by A.J. DeLaGarza and Bryan Jordan, and each player received strong reviews in Franklin’s absence. Defense has not fallen off with Franklin gone. The club has allowed just two goals all season long and will enter Columbus Saturday with a 366-minute scoreless streak.
While the match was not a league tilt, Sunday’s win over Boca was just more proof that the club is doing things the right way, Franklin said.
“We talked about just coming out and competing. It’s not a league game but still an important game for us to show well and play well for our fans and organization and we were able to get a nice goal at the end,” Franklin said. “We’re just continuing doing what we’ve been doing all year, and that’s working hard and pulling out wins.”
Through one third of the season, the Galaxy are arguably the league’s best team. Like the Galaxy, Columbus have yet to lose on the campaign as well. The Galaxy, though, have been especially impressive away from home. In five road games, the Galaxy have not allowed a goal.
Without Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle, who are with the U.S. World Cup team, the Galaxy traveled to Texas and left with a 1-0 win over FC Dallas. Such a performance showed the Galaxy’s greatest strength, Franklin said.
“It just shows our character,” he said. “Landon and Edson are special players, and they’re at where they’re at because they deserve to be with the national team. Even though they’re gone, our team is pulling together.
"Our offense is coming together and our defense is doing well too so as much as we wish we could have those guys on our team and to be with us, we also know that we still have a team without those guys and we’re doing fine. When they come, they’re just going to help us out even more.”