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Suwon nicks Galaxy on penalties for PPC title
by Ridge Mahoney, February 23rd, 2009 7AM

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[MLS] Rookie defenders, even good ones, will have bad days, yet one of the first games in the sophomore season of 2008 Rookie of the Year Sean Franklin turned out to be among his worst.

Franklin scored an own goal and departed with a red card in the 79th minute of the Pan Pacific Championship game in which Suwon Bluewings of South Korea beat the L.A. Galaxy, 4-2, on penalties following a 1-1 tie Saturday at Home Depot Center.

"It's just frustrating," Franklin said. "I don't think I played that well tonight. I contributed a little bit but I think I could have done better than that."

Eduardo De Oliveira, Yang Sang-Min, Lee Gil-Hoon and Choi Sung-Hwan converted penalties for Suwon. Chris Klein and Mike Magee scored from the spot for the Galaxy, but Edson Buddle drilled L.A.'s first attempt over the crossbar and Kyle Patterson's saved effort proved to be the final kick of the game.

Magee had converted a penalty kick in the 88th minute to tie the game, 1-1. Buddle drew the foul by Jorge Luiz Alves Justino, and Magee fired his penalty low past keeper Park Ho-Jin.

Franklin headed Suwon into the lead six minutes before halftime as he chased down a long ball with Choi Sung-Hyeon. The young defender got just enough of the ball to guide it over the head of Galaxy keeper Josh Saunders, who was standing near the edge of the penalty area, and it sailed into the net.

It was a cruel break for the Galaxy, as eight minutes earlier, Eddie Lewis hobbled off with a hamstring injury and was replaced in the 31st minute by rookie A.J. DeLaGarza. Lewis, a midfielder most of his career, had started at left back in a revamped back line that paired veteran Tony Sanneh and rookie Omar Gonzalez in the middle, and Franklin at right back.

Even before it went down a goal and a man, however, Los Angeles needed the sharp work of Saunders to keep Suwon in check. He saved three times with the game goalless; his best save came 15 minutes into the second half when he came out to deflect a low, skipping shot by De Oliveira.

Franklin walked off the field after being shown a straight red card for a hard foul on Jorge Luiz Alves.

"That's how calls go," Franklin said. "The own goal is just unfortunate, I'm just glad my teammates battled back late and forced a last play."

The late play of Buddle and Magee took the game to penalties, but Buddle's PK sailed high to put Los Angeles in the hole and despite Klein and Magee converting, LA never caught up. Park blocked Patterson's kick to clinch the tournament title for the reigning South Korean champion.

"I was pleased that this team showed a lot of character coming back," Arena said. "I was impressed. Let's face it. We played a Suwong team that's more experienced. I thought our young guys did a great job."

In the third-place game, Oita Trinita of Japan beat Shandong Luneng of China, 2-1.

 



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