CARSON, Calif. -- Sean Franklin picked the perfect time for his first career Major League Soccer postseason goal.
The Los Angeles defender scored from about 30 yards in the 48th minute to give the Galaxy a 1-0 win in the opening game of the Western Conference semifinal series on Sunday night at the Stubhub Center.
More important than the win, however, is the one-goal advantage the Galaxy will take to Salt Lake City when the series concludes Thursday. The team with the most goals after the two games will advance to the conference championship against Portland or Seattle.
Real Salt Lake and the Galaxy battled to a scoreless draw in the first half despite plentiful scoring opportunities for Los Angeles.
Galaxy forwards Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, who combined for 26 goals during the regular season, were connecting with each other while keeping Real Salt Lake on its heels.
Los Angeles was simply unable to finish, thanks in part to the quick legwork of defender Tony Beltran, who continuously got into position to block, deflect or intercept passes and shots headed for the goal.
Meanwhile, Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez helped to frustrate Real Salt Lake star Alvaro Saborio, who entered the game with a team-high 12 goals but didn't get many touches.
The Galaxy came within inches of adding a goal when Keane's shot in the 85th minute went wide.
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Ramando also made a sliding stop of a shot by Donovan in the 88th minute. A shot by Juninho in the 90th minute, off a pass from Keane, went over the net.
NOTES: Real Salt Lake and the Galaxy are meeting for the third time in the MLS playoffs. Two seasons ago, the Galaxy beat Real Salt Lake 3-1 in the Western Conference championship. In 2009, Real Salt Lake edged the Galaxy 5-4 on penalty kicks to win the MLS championship. ... Joao Plata Cotera, who leads Real Salt Lake with eight assists this season, missed the game with a strained right hamstring. ... The Galaxy won two of three games with Real Salt Lake during the regular season. Keane (16 goals, 10 assists) had a hat trick in the only game that was played at the Stubhub Center, a 4-2 Galaxy victory on Aug. 17. The teams split the two games in Salt Lake City. ... Donovan went into the game as MLS' leading postseason scorer with 22 goals in 34 games. He is also in fourth place on the career list for MLS postseason assists with 12.