Saturday, April 18, 2009

The new utilityman?

One of the not-so-surprising moves Bruce Arena made a week ago was starting Sean Franklin at right back. I think it came down to a matter of bodies; with the arrival of Gregg Berhalter, there was an excess in defense and both Tony Sanneh and Franklin got bumped out of the back as AJ De La Garza, Omar Gonzalez, Berhalter and Eddie Lewis made up the Galaxy's defense and picked up a shutout in the process.

Berhalter's gone and won't play against San Jose tonight, but will that mean Franklin's short-lived stint in the midfield will be over? Franklin could easily slide back into central defense with Omar Gonzalez, as the two started the season there together. And that probably would make the most sense, really. But would it? I mean, it seems to make sense in that Franklin has seen a lot of time there in his career, but he's been moving around a lot. He's a right back, central defender, now a right mid.... and he's keeping a good face about, playing where the boss asks him.

I don't know if that's best, though. Franklin was completely at fault for the game-losing goal against Colorado as he got stripped of the ball when trying to make an ill-advised run and coughed up the ball easily.

I'd like to see Franklin settle into a position and stay there. If his best spot is at right back, then let him compete for the right back position. Chris Klein has been woefully out of position there and is far better in the midfield, so let Franklin and Sanneh fight out for the right back spot each week. But the depth is so thin on defense - well, really everywhere on the roster - that you need for Franklin or other versatile players to be able to move from spot to spot depending on injuries and cards and all that other good stuff.

So Franklin thus will likely spend his sophomore season as a utilityman. We'll see where Arena starts him tonight, but my money's on central defense.


dave r. said...

Probably what the team needs, but it's a shame in terms of Franklin's development.
Maybe I'm jumping the gun, but I can envision Sean being a class right back - a bona fide, European top league transfer target down the road.
Every time a see the kid, he impresses me. I'm I crazy?

Anonymous said...

Snore. Wake me up when the Galaxy do something relevant.

-Rip Van Winkle

The Hammer said...

He was back in midfield today so the short form answer to the question you brought up is: No.

It seems Bruce is high on Franklin at right mid. Omar looked solid on the inside right position.

As an "analyst" I'm getting really tired of these early goals being given up. They make it very hard to judge the set-up and the overall 'normal' functioning of the team.

I'm still patient and am optimistic that Galaxy is building up slowly and working their way through the season unlike last season when we were flirting with 1st place when we first went to San Jose only to see the team take a nose dive after that.