Thursday Notebook

Buddle Returns Ahead of July 4 Showdown

Landon and Edson WC sendoff

Photo Credit: 
Kevork Djansezian / Getty Photos

The LA Galaxy's Edson Buddle
was back at practice Thursday, his legs still a little weary from more than 20
hours of plane travel earlier in the week from the World Cup in South Africa
but his upbeat spirit intact.

His Galaxy and National Team
teammate Landon Donovan will return to practice on Friday after a busy week
making the talk show circuit in New
York City, but Buddle was happy to return to familiar
surroundings.

"It was good to loosen
up the legs a little bit," Buddle said. "The heat was definitely a
difference."

Buddle said temperatures
dropped to as low as 30 degrees during the night in South Africa and generally were in
the 50s at game time.

"Hopefully tomorrow
I'll feel a lot better," he said.

His coaches and teammates
said they understood if Buddle may not have been at his sharpest Thursday.

"It's understandable if
his legs are feeling a little heavy, but he looked fine today," defender
Todd Dunivant said. "To come back today from all that travel, being in a
different environment, mentally refocusing ... it isn't an easy thing, but
he'll be fine."

Galaxy head coach Bruce
Arena said he was pleased with the prospects of having his two leading scorers
available for Sunday's game against Seattle Sounders FC. He also said Buddle
also needs to get back in the flow.

"He has to get a little
back in form now," he said of Buddle, who still leads MLS with nine goals
despite missing the club’s last five games while with the National Team.
"Although he participated in the World Cup, he didn't log that many
minutes. He has to get that sharpness back."

Buddle said he kept close
track of the Galaxy by way of the Internet and wasn't surprised to see them do
so well. The Galaxy were 3-1-1 during Buddle and Donovan's absences, and that
record doesn't include a 1-0 victory over Boca Juniors in an international
friendly on May 23 and Tuesday's 2-0 victory over AC St. Louis in the Third
Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

"The team has played
well," he said. "I always said the team has a lot of depth, and
that's going to carry us through the second half of the season."

Buddle, who saw action in
two games during the World Cup, said he was disappointed the Americans couldn't
have extended their stay in South
Africa a bit longer.

"I think we could have
gone a lot further," he said. "We were a lot fitter than some of the
teams, but we just fell short. Maybe if one or two plays had gone our way it
might have been a different scenario."

VETERAN PRESENCE

Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup
match featured an interesting quartet in midfield for the Galaxy. Eddie Lewis
started the game on the left and Chris Klein was on the right while Jovan
Kirovski and Clint Mathis combined in the center of the park, a group whose
average age was just over 34-years-old. The starting age of LA’s new-look back
four that included Alex Cazumba, A.J. DeLaGarza, Bryan Jordan and Leonardo was
just 22-years-old.

"I thought it was a
men's league," Klein joked. "We've played together or against each
other at one time or another since we were 16, 17-years-old. The familiarity
was very good, and honestly we felt the quality was good.

"It was good for us to
get a run and play major minutes to help our team advance in a tournament we
want to win."

Klein scored the game's
first goal in the 69th minute and Lewis assisted on Juninho's goal 11 minutes
later. Lewis said he felt an extra comfort level with his veteran teammates and
later moved to left back in the second half, with Cazumba moving up to take his
spot at midfield.

"I've played on and off
with those guys for a lot of years, and I'm very comfortable with what each of
them give," Lewis said. "I definitely think it was a game mentally
where it can be a little bit challenging if you're not really ready.

"You see a lot of MLS
teams go out at this stage because they kind of let their guard down a bit and do
not prepare themselves mentally. The four (who played in midfield) are all
pretty darn good pros and make sure they go about a game like that in the right
way."

ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY

Thursday's practice session
also marked the first appearance for forward Mike Magee, who is recovering from
recent surgery to repair a bilateral sports hernia.

Magee did some light some
running on the side and estimated it's still a couple of weeks before he'll
enter into more serious workouts. He said it wasn't even three days ago that he
couldn't cough or sneeze without feeling pain.

He also had run on a
treadmill a couple of times before heading out to the field Thursday. The club
placed Magee on its disabled list last week, meaning that he will not be
eligible to return to the team until the Galaxy travel to New York on August 14.

"It feels pretty
good," Magee said. "It's funny how you could go a whole year doing
fitness, then go through the preseason and the season, then you're out two
weeks and you kind of lose it all. It's funny how it works that way.

"We'll starting testing
it out more in a couple of weeks. I think in the past guys have rushed back and
played maybe two weeks later with the same surgery and they have complications.
We're going to be careful."

NOT MISSING A BEAT

The Galaxy defense had a new
goalkeeper in Josh Saunders and a new back four in Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup
match, but the result was nothing new -- another clean sheet.

The Galaxy have allowed just
four goals in 14 regular-season games compared to 18 goals allowed at this
point in 2009. Real Salt Lake, Colorado
and Columbus
are tied for the next-fewest goals allowed with 11.

Dunivant attributed the
Galaxy's defensive success to pride.

"It's just a mentality
we have," he said. "New guys can come in and fill in those spots and
we still get a shutout. It's something we pride ourselves on. We all have an
understanding on what we want to do out there. The continuity from last year
helps a lot; we brought the same pieces back and added one or two here and
there. When you do that, it makes all the difference."

HONORABLE

On Wednesday, Galaxy head
coach Bruce Arena was named to coach the MLS All-Stars against Manchester
United on Wednesday, July 28 at Houston's
Reliant Stadium.

Despite the honor, which is
given to the coach that whose team has the best points-per-game average in
League play through June 27, Arena said he won't take all of the credit.

"It's a great
honor," Arena said, "but it's really a reflection on this group of
players, my coaching staff and our organization. They deserve the real
credit."

With the Galaxy scheduled to
play a CONCACAF Champions League Qualifying Round game against the Puerto Rico
Islanders on July 27, one day before the All-Star Game, Arena has selected
Houston Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear to serve as his assistant and train
the All-Stars in the run-up to the game, with Arena flying to Houston on
Wednesday morning to coach the team.