CARSON, Calif. – A lengthy injury layoff in the rearview mirror, Edson Buddle is back and ready to contribute to the LA Galaxy’s stretch run.
Out since early June when he underwent right knee surgery to repair damage done to his meniscus suffered during LA’s 2-1 defeat to the Houston Dynamo, Buddle went 20 minutes during LA’s 4-0 victory over the Puerto Rico Islanders in CONCACAF Champions League play.
His return to the field was rather uneventful, but the brightest moment came late in the second half as the forward was able to dribble past a pair of defenders setting up a dangerous Galaxy scoring chance. Although the 31-year-old was unable to get on the score sheet, Buddle was pleased with his performance.
“It felt good, I was a little cautious, but I think through the medical staff, I was ready to go out there and push as hard as I can,” Buddle told reporters after the match. “But at the same time, I was aware that it is my first game and I think my teammates around me made it easier because they were available and the young guys have been doing a good job so far.”
Although Buddle was pleased to make his return, the warmest moment came as Buddle checked into the match as he received a roaring cheer from the 7,500 in attendance at The Home Depot Center— a moment that was not lost on the veteran forward.
“It was great, it was good to hear,” said Buddle. “It makes me feel like they haven’t forgotten about me and at least it makes me feel that all the hard work that I’ve done in the past makes it able for them to cheer me on.”
His first taste of action completed, Buddle will now set his sights on returning to the Galaxy starting lineup. A task that promises to be difficult as Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan have formed an effective partnership up top since Buddle’s injury.
The veteran forward admits that while Donovan and Keane’s success made it easier for him to return from injury, he has no doubts that he can earn his way back into the starting XI.
“It’s something that I’ve done before in my career. I think that I’ve played a long time now and it helps my game and makes me a better player,” said Buddle. “It kind of helped my injury because Bruce was in a good mood everyday and didn’t put any pressure on me to get back because the team is doing well right now and it allowed me to heal properly.”
But how will he earn his starting spot back? According to the veteran forward that answer is incredibly simple.
“Score goals,” said Buddle with a smile. “Do what I’ve done in the past and score goals.”
WATCH: Buddle's 2010 Goals