Galaxy expect big things out of healthy Buddle

A few loose teeth won't stop Buddle from making an impact in 2010

Edson Buddle proved that, for
three points, he would fight tooth and nail for a win, with an emphasis on the
“tooth” part.

Buddle scored the game-winner in
the Galaxy’s 1-0 triumph over New England. (CLICK HERE FOR THE HIGHLIGHTS.) Midway through the second half,
Buddle met up with Pat Phelan’s elbow. The Revolution player knocked Buddle
down and nearly knocked out some of his teeth.

Such things come with the
territory.

“You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta
do to win, you know?” Buddle said after the match.

After missing time in 2009 with
an array of injuries, Buddle entered the 2010 season fully fit. The physical
setbacks last season contributed to a drop in form and scoring, as Buddle went
from 15 goals in 2008 to five in 2009.

Six minutes into the 2010 season,
Buddle knocked in a header off a set piece and notched goal number one. It’s
that kind of production that gives the team hope the old Buddle will resurface.

“That was a pretty good
performance over 90 minutes. He battled pretty hard (Saturday) and had some
pretty good moments, did a good job holding the ball up,” Galaxy coach Bruce
Arena said. “This could be a good year for him. Hopefully he stays healthy.”

Quadriceps and toe injuries kept
Buddle off the field for a good chunk of last season. And while loose teeth might
knock some players out, team officials said Buddle will be available for
Thursday’s game against Chivas USA.

Tooth issues are nothing new to
Buddle, at least not this year. Just two weeks before the season started Buddle
had braces removed. New England’s Phelan sent Buddle back to the dentist to get
a splint placed on his teeth to help stabilize them.

The stability that Buddle had
really been seeking was the knowledge that he was in the Galaxy’s long-term
plans.

“Being
settled with Bruce giving me a little confidence and saying that I’m going to
be here,” Buddle said. "It really helps a forward."

And with players like Landon Donovan,
Eddie Lewis and Juninho providing service this season, staying in the lineup will
be enough for him to get his share of scoring chances.

“Staying healthy is one of the
things I want to do to maintain and score goals,” Buddle said. “Once I’m on the
field I’m able to get opportunities and then it’s up to me to put away my
chances.”