By Alex Baker
(Carson, CA) – The fact that the LA Galaxy are suffering from a lack of striker goals was illustrated clearly Wednesday by the fact that it took defender Sean Franklin, scoring his first career MLS goal to secure a win against the visiting Columbus Crew.
Or maybe it was the LA Riot Squad supporters group chanting, “We want Buddle,” after Juan Pablo Angel missed a shot that had been served up on a platter for him by a charging, darting Landon Donovan in the 30th.
However Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena seemed unconcerned.
“What do you think we should do?” asked Arena facetiously. “We haven’t lost an MLS game since May 1st. It’s not the worst thing. Sometimes you gotta count on other players to get goals for you. We don’t care who scores the goal.”
Franklin netted in the 70th when LA were awarded a direct free kick from a good position. David Beckham stepped up before the 24,709 in attendance to take the kick, sending it into the wall. It was cleared, but only as far as Franklin, who blasted in a low shot that took a deflection off keeper William Hesmer on its way into the back of the net.
“I’ve tried to tell him it was an own goal but he’s not having that,” joked Beckham afterwards. “He had one in the first half which he could’ve scored from and then he hit this one really well. We needed it tonight. It was important for us to get the three points.”
This followed a scoreless first hour in which the Galaxy (11-2-9) managed to create a number of chances they were unable to convert.
Columbus defended well but engineered few real opportunities on the night. They were largely confined to long distance potshots like Robbie Rogers’ 23rd minute effort, which was on target but just saved by Galaxy keeper Josh Saunders.
During the course of the match the Galaxy were awarded a total of sixteen corners. Yet despite the continued efforts of David Beckham, the Western Conference leaders were unable to mount a credible threat from any of them.
“It’s frustrating,” said Beckham. “They had a couple of big guys. When you got big guys in the middle like that it’s hard for our guys to create space and get on the end of it.”
Columbus (7-6-7) put up a good spell of pressure late in the game and Josh Gardner might have equalized with a 79th minute header that was on target but saved by Saunders.
“It got a little stretched at the end of the game,” said Donovan afterwards. “They took some chances and made some opportunities.”
Beckham was shown a yellow card in stoppage time when the Galaxy were awarded a free kick and he was accused of time wasting. The card will see him missing the next match against Vancouver. However the veteran England midfielder felt he was being encroached.
“I think that when he sprays the lines you expect ten yards,” explained Beckham. “That guy was two yards inside the line. I’m waiting for the ref to move him back. He decides to give me a card. Unfortunately it means I’ll miss the next game.”
Seconds later the final whistle was blown and the Galaxy emerged with the win, buying three valuable points needed to put some distance between themselves and the hotly trailing Seattle Sounders.
Following this weekend’s upcoming friendly against Manchester City, the Galaxy will be hungry for another win when they head north to face the Vancouver Whitecaps (2-10-9) on July 30.