Los Angeles revel in Buddle's goal-scoring

Arena calls Galaxy's only scorer this season "outstanding"

A_Team_RSL

Photo Credit: 
Jeff Gross

CARSON, Calif. — Another game, another standout
performance by Edson Buddle.

Scoring two goals against Real Salt
Lake Buddle accomplished several things. First, he helped the Galaxy
beat RSL 2-1, thereby somewhat avenging last season’s MLS Cup final
loss. Secondly, Buddle became the first player in MLS history to score
the first seven goals for his club to start off a season.

Watch:
FULL
MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Also, and equally important, he was able to
distinguish himself in the eyes of Landon Donovan.

“I don’t
think I’ve seen anything like it,” Donovan said. “The goals are going
in but there are other chances in the game that he’s just missing. He’s
getting pulled around by people like you wouldn’t believe. He’s
getting fouled and hammered.”

Buddle’s seven goals on the season
set a new mark but more importantly have the Galaxy sitting atop the
league with a 4-0-0 record.

Last season, the Galaxy picked up win
number four on July 4. This season, it came in the middle of April and
it was the hardest thus far.

Even though Real Salt Lake were
missing Javier Morales and Ned Grabavoy, the visitors were game for
nearly everything the Galaxy had to offer. Buddle opened the scoring in
the 12th minute with a header off a corner kick, but RSL pulled level
before the break as Kyle Beckerman scored from 22 yards out, on a ball
that Buddle said may have been either a “mental lapse” or a “lucky
break.”

The teams traded jabs in the second half until Buddle
found himself open in the 76th minute and buried a 17-yard shot past
Rimando. Riding his record-setting streak, Buddle said he has remained
grounded despite the accomplishment.

“I always stay level
headed. I’m not a person to get over the top because… there are ups and
downs,” said Buddle, who was unaware of the record he set. “I’m just
enjoying it right now. I’m glad I’m in a good rhythm and just hope I
can keep scoring.”

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said his player is
just doing his job.

“Forwards are supposed to score goals, he’s
scoring goals,” Arena said. “He’s been great. What more can you say?
His performance has been outstanding. I don’t know how else to describe
what he’s done to date.”

RSL tried to outmuscle and play
physical with Buddle. Central defenders Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave
tried to contain Buddle, but were not too successful in doing so.

Buddle
and Borchers, though, were going back and forth throughout the game,
and not just with their respective physiques.

“Anytime the ball
went in the air they basically just grabbed him,” Donovan said of
Buddle. “He should have had a lot more fouls called for him… but he
fought through and kept going. He got frustrated but we told him to
keep going and score a goal. That’s how you respond and he did.”

After
one particular series, Buddle and Borchers exchanged words.

“[Buddle]
was pretty riled up,” Donovan said. “I said ‘Look, man, just go put it
in the net. That’s the best way to shut him up.’ And he did. And Nat
didn’t have a lot to say after that.”

For Buddle, though, what
mattered most was getting the goal, not that he scored it.

“It
was good to get the goal, but I was a little tired,” Buddle said. “I
was just happy that we got the lead back and I just wanted to hold onto
it and make sure we won the game and finished the game off right and
not do the same thing we did in the first half.”

The Galaxy are
now firmly in first place, five points ahead of Houston. But at least
one player isn’t ready to shift into cruise control.

“It’s still
early,” Donovan said. “You can’t get carried away. But the beauty is we
have guys who have . . . thousands of professional games who aren’t
even playing for us yet. Our best days are still ahead.”