Arena: We're ready for loss of Buddle, Donovan
Nearly one-third of their calendar is complete and thus far no team has been able to stop the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Be it at home or on the road, the only team that’s come close has been the Kansas City Wizards, who held the Galaxy to a scoreless draw.
But now, one person threatens to cut short the Galaxy’s red-hot early-season pace—U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley.
Less than one month away from the World Cup, Bradley will welcome in more than two dozen players on Tuesday as the World Cup training camp opens. Among the players will be Galaxy duo Edson Buddle and Landon Donovan.
Buddle leads the league with nine goals. Donovan has a league-high nine assists. Combined, the rest of the Galaxy’s roster has five goals and four assists this season.
Still, it’s not as if the Galaxy were unprepared for this, coach Bruce Arena said.
“It’s no different during the season,” Arena said. “You have players missing for a variety of reasons whether it’s injuries or suspensions or international duty so. It’s something we’ve been prepared to do all along.”
Even though no Galaxy player besides Buddle has scored more than one goal this season, the national team-bound striker said the cupboard isn’t barren.
“Bruce is doing a good job of handling the players and personnel,” Buddle said. “I’m sure he’s going to be able to motivate them as the week goes on.”
Depth has been one of the biggest buzz words surrounding the team. Players take pride in their deep roster, and Arena has said one goal ahead of this season was to build depth. Now, the club is facing a situation that could potentially be fatal, but it is doing so with confidence.
Though Donovan was involved on every goal, four different players scored for the Galaxy in their 4-0 win at Seattle on Saturday. More of the same is expected once Buddle and Donovan are gone.
“The guys have been stepping in and filling roles and we’re going to have to do that when we’re gone,” defender Gregg Berhalter said. “One thing we have this year is greater depth and we’re going to have to use that depth.”
Confidence is high through eight games. Boasting a 7-0-1 record, a league-high 15 goals and a league-low two goals allowed will cause that sort of emotion to come to the surface.
But without Donovan and Buddle, the team will remain confident and focused on the task at hand.
“We’re confident, we’re a very confident team but we’re still looking at just the next game,” Berhalter said. “That’s the key to us, on Saturday putting the best possible performance we can put out. I don’t think we’re looking at any records. We’re not looking at the future. We’re just looking at the next game.”