After more than a dozen failed corner kicks, it was a blocked free kick that brought the Galaxy a 1-0 victory Wednesday night against the Columbus Crew.
Galaxy midfielder David Beckham had attempted 14 corner kicks, all falling harmlessly, and a handful of free kicks before he was fouled in the 68th minute. From about 25 yards out, Beckham blasted the ensuing free kick off the wall of Columbus defenders in front of him. The ricochet bounced directly to Galaxy defender Sean Franklin, a few yards to Beckham's left. With no set wall to contend with, Franklin sent the deciding goal in past Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer after it nicked a defender's foot.
"I was surprised," Franklin said of his first MLS goal. "I was just excited that the shot went in and finally one of our chances went into the net."
The Galaxy (11-2-9) attempted seven corner kicks in the second half after notching nine in the first 45 minutes, falling three short of the MLS record set by the New York Red Bulls way back in 1999.
"It's frustrating, but we can say we had 16 corners and we had chances," Beckham said. "They had a couple big guys. Unfortunately, when you have big guys in the middle like that, it is hard for our players to find space."
Beckham's final set-piece of the night earned him a one-game suspension. In second half stoppage time, Beckham stood over the ball off to the right wing. Columbus defenders appeared to be within the referee's markings, and when Beckham called for the referee to rectify such, he earned a yellow card for delaying a restart. As Beckham's eighth yellow card of the season, he will be suspended for the Galaxy's game at the Vancouver Whitecaps on July 30.
"That's a yellow card, if there's ever one that should be rescinded or at least make the referee pay the fine," Arena said.
"The miscues on set pieces were only a symptom of an overall lackluster effort from the Galaxy. Throughout the first half, the announced crowd of 24,709 at the Home Depot Center cheered scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity, only to let out a disappointed gasp each time a missed pass, ugly shot or solid defensive play by the Crew (7-6-7) ruined the chance. Nonetheless, Arena said preserving the team's 13-match unbeaten streak was crucial.
"We haven't lost an MLS game since May 1," he said. "It's not the worst thing."