Buddle thriving after MLS Cup miscue

Galaxy forward prepares for rematch with RSL

Buddle Scores Second Goal vs Houston

Photo Credit: 
Bob Levey

It was a moment that could have played out so much differently.

Edson
Buddle stood at the penalty spot deep in a penalty-kick shootout.
Perched on the goal line was Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando, and if
Buddle could just get the ball past both, the Galaxy would be one stop
away from an MLS championship.

Buddle fired. Rimando dived. The
penalty was turned away.

Robbie Russell converted the ensuing
spot kick and Real Salt Lake had their championship at the Galaxy’s
expense.

“I just don’t want to be remembered for a thing like
that,’ Buddle said. “It’s definitely motivation and preparation for the
season.”

Buddle has done well so far to erase the memory. The
Galaxy forward leads the league with five goals, accounting for each of
the club’s goals this season. He’s also already matched his total
scoring output from last season, which was marred by hip and toe
injuries.

The Galaxy, in turn, are 3-0-0 and playing arguably the
best soccer in the league thus far.

“It left a bitter taste in
my mouth,” Buddle said of last year’s shortcomings. “I wouldn’t want to
leave the fans thinking that that was going to hurt me or slow me down
by any means. I wanted to come out on top of that scenario and show
that I still want to win.”

On Saturday, Buddle will have further
opportunity to prove his worth while hoping for a bit of payback as
Real Salt Lake visits the Galaxy. It’s not the same as Nov. 22, 2009,
but it will be a game the Galaxy want to win nonetheless.

“Losing
in the final, you want to play that team again. It’s going to be
physical and you want to win. I’m sure they’re up to the task,” Buddle
said. “They got what they wanted and we just want to show that we are
the better team.”

The goals have seemingly come rather
effortlessly. He scored on two early headers, against New England and
Chivas USA, respectively. Against the Galaxy’s in-stadium rivals,
Buddle put away a goal after he and Landon Donovan broke into the
penalty area late in the match.

Buddle banged in a pair against
Houston, each an impressive strike – he scored on a tight angle against
Pat Onstad, then hammered a side volley into the back of the net to
finish off Houston.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

“It’s
not easy at all. It’s never easy,” Buddle said. “The opposition always
makes it tough to get free, and it’s physical. Especially the last
game. We’re just happy we’re coming away with results right now.”