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USA-CHILE: It's a start for Franklin

1/23/2011

CARSON, Calif. -- If might not have been a game to remember, but Sean Franklin will never forget it.

The Galaxy right back, a three-year MLS veteran from Palmdale (Highland HS/Cal State Northridge) made his first appearance for the U.S. national team in Saturday night's 1-1 draw against Chile at Home Depot Center -- he was one of seven Yanks to do so -- and if his game wasn't a beauty, well, eh, it was all right.

He went the distance for the U.S., with family watching from the stands, and the thrill of the occasion will apply a golden glow to the proceedings.

“I found out today [I was starting]. Even though the day before you kind of have the starting group practicing, but nothing's final until it's written down,” Franklin said. “I was excited to get the start. I just wanted to calm down and not freak out too much, but I was excited.”

He was beaten badly, twice, by Edson Puch, who owned Franklin in the first half (and Chile was unfortunate, thanks to a reaction save by Nick Rimando, not to capitalize) -- and he wasn't much of a factor in the U.S. attack up the right flank.

Several among this young, inexperienced band of Americans impressed, but Franklin wasn't one of them.

“I think I did OK,” he said when asked to assess his performance. “I wish I could have done maybe better attack-wise, as far as some better balls being crossed, but I think I did OK tonight.”

Puch, he noted, was “a handful. ... In the first half he was moving a lot; he had a lot of good moves. I was trying to read him more and more as the game got on. I found in the second half I did a better job of kind of containing him, but he's a good player.”

So is Franklin. He's an improving attacking winger who still needs work on the defensive side of his game. He had a superb second half of last year's Major League Soccer season -- Soccer America, in its latest issue, rated him the best right back in the league -- and a similar campaign in 2011 will keep him in U.S. coach Bob Bradley's thoughts.

“Games like this, camps like this give you a snapshot of where guys are ...,” Bradley said. “You have a sense now as to the bigger pool and who's moving along, and we continue to do our work to watch these guys, get them into camp.”