Seattle Sounders preparing for Buddle

Team will limit leading scorer's chances by attacking service

Edson Buddle

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Edson Buddle will be a marked man in Seattle. The 28-year-old
striker and his nine goals head to Qwest Field on Saturday, and he will be
difficult to contain in his current form.

Opinion on how to keep Buddle from scoring varies. Only two
teams, Kansas City and Colorado, have been successful so far, but neither has a
win to show for it. In the two matches where Buddle has kept off the score
sheet, Los Angeles still has a 1-0-1 record.

Sounders FC defender James Riley said that Buddle’s
versatility makes it difficult to form a game plan to stop him.

“He’s pretty
dynamic,” Riley said. “He seems like he’s not into the game, but all it takes
is three seconds where you don’t know where he is and he gets into good spots
and they find him with the ball.”

Riley said the task of stopping the striker starts long
before Buddle gets the ball. Seattle will hope to apply pressure in an attempt
to keep Buddle’s teammates from getting him the ball in dangerous positions. The
defender said his team is going to try to stifle passing lanes to Buddle as
much as possible.

“We are going to try to limit service,” Riley said. “When he
does get the ball, he’s going to have to work for every touch.”

Cutting off service means stopping Landon Donovan. Already
the Galaxy’s leading assist man, the U.S. national team player has shown sides
of regaining his scoring touch. During Los Angeles’ midweek match against the
Rapids, he gave Colorado’s goal posts a stress test early with a well-struck near-miss.

A lion’s share of the responsibility for containing Donovan
will likely fall to Seattle’s best defensive midfielder, Osvaldo Alonso.

“Obviously any forward lives off service and so we have got
to make sure we cut those service lines and keep the ball from getting into him,”
Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said. “A lot of the service comes from Landon Donovan,
so we have got to contain Donovan.”

With Los Angeles playing its third match in eight days,
fatigue may be a factor. However, Schmid dismissed those concerns. With an easy
3-1 win over expansion Philadelphia last Saturday, the Galaxy did not have to
expend as much energy as they might have. Galaxy boss Bruce Arena proved that
by deploying the same starting XI from the Philly game on Wednesday night
against the Rapids.

With no mid-week match upcoming, Arena should give Buddle
the chance to impress the US National Team scouts by adding on to his
league-leading goal tally against Seattle. With Bob Bradley set to name his
provisional roster of 30 on May 11, the Seattle match could be the last chance
for Buddle to earn a call-up in advance of the World Cup. The final 23-man
World Cup rosters are due on June 1, just 11 days before the U.S. opens against
England.