Just short in race for Boot, Buddle looks ahead

Teammates say forward "punished" for playing in World Cup

CARSON, Calif. – The Los Angeles Galaxy had plenty to celebrate with Sunday's 2-1 win over FC Dallas. They secured the Supporters’ Shield, home-field advantage in the MLS Cup Playoffs and a berth in the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League.

About the only place they came up short was enabling Edson Buddle to win the Golden Boot. The Galaxy's leading scorer was unable to add to his tally, allowing San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski to steal the award in the final week of the season with 18 goals – just one ahead of Buddle.

“I enjoyed the win, getting the Supporters’ Shield as a team,” Buddle said. “We wanted to continue to lead and finish out strong. I’m very happy with that. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the Golden Boot. You keep the bitter and the sweet.”

Buddle needed just one goal to win the Golden Boot. Though a goal would have moved him to 18 for the season, the same number as Wondolowski, Buddle held the tiebreaker as he had tallied an extra assist. Instead, it never came into play as Buddle was unable to beat FC Dallas’ Dario Sala.

WATCH: Buddle shoots high vs. FCD

It wasn’t for lack of trying. Buddle had three shots, including one on goal, and was as energetic as the rest of the team. His teammates were ultimately disappointed in having been unable to help Buddle get a goal.

“It’s always frustrating when you can’t get a player like Edson, who is chasing records and things like that,” David Beckham said. “Edson has got time to get as many goals as he wants to because he’s been great this season, again, and him going to the World Cup was great for him. For us, he’s been amazing.”

Buddle finished with a career-high 17 goals in 25 games. Wondolowski had one more goal in three more games.

“Awards like that are always disappointing, because in the end, Edson gets punished for making the World Cup team,” Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said. “But Wondolowski was there all year and had opportunities to play in more games. Taking nothing away from him — the kid did great this week to go out and win it — but I think Edson, from Day One through this weekend, has been by far the best player in the league.”

However, Buddle was not completely shut out. He was named the Galaxy’s Most Valuable Player.

“It’s richly deserved,” Arena said. “There were certainly some other candidates but looks like a pretty good choice to me. He’s had a fantastic season. He was an important part in the beginning of the year when he scored seven of our initial goals. He’s consistently been good throughout the season."

Buddle said he the team MVP award was an unexpected honor. With regards to missing out on the Golden Boot, he said there are other things that take precedence.

“There is a lot more to be accomplished,” he said. “The final is where my main focus is at.”

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