CARSON, Calif. – Since opening the season with a 1-0 win over New England, the Los Angeles Galaxy have been a dominant force in Major League Soccer.
It should come as no surprise, then, the Galaxy placed the most players on the MLS First XI for the 2010 All-Star Game, to be played against Manchester United in Houston on July 28.
Galaxy stars Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle, Donovan Ricketts and Omar Gonzalez comprised more than one-fourth of the First XI roster.
“That’s great recognition for our four All-Stars,” said Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, who will be coaching the MLS All-Stars. “They’d be the first to tell you that their teammates played a vital role in their selection and I’m sure they’re indebted to the work that their teammates have given in a positive way in the first half this season. It’s a nice honor and I think we all look forward to the game against Manchester United.”
The Galaxy sit atop the league with an 11-2-3 record, and have allowed just seven goals this season. The club went unbeaten through the first 13 games of the season and didn’t allow a road goal through their first six road games.
“At this time of the year, you really realize what you’ve done,” Galaxy captain Donovan said. “When you’re in the week-to-week-to-week-to-week grind of it, you’re just focusing on the next game. Now we get an opportunity to relax a tiny bit and kind of take stock to see what we’ve done, and to have four guys representing our team is incredible in the starting lineup. It’s really special.”
Donovan is the elder statesman of the group – this will be his 10th All-Star selection. Buddle has been an All-Star prior, but Gonzalez and Ricketts were selected for the first time.
Donovan’s World Cup teammate is also his First XI teammate. The league leader in goals, Buddle’s inclusion was all but a lock. Buddle scored nine goals by mid-May and earned a spot on the US World Cup roster.
“It’s a great achievement and I’m very thankful and it shows some of the hard work I did in the offseason paid off to get to this point,” Buddle said. “It means everything, to be an All-Star especially in this league is not easy. I thank the fans first of all and I just have to continue to play well and score goals.”
Gonzalez’s 18-month ride has been an adventure. After being selected third in the 2009 SuperDraft, the Maryland alum became an instant fixture in the Galaxy’s lineup and played all 30 regular-season games while helping the Galaxy to MLS Cup ’09. Now, he has received his first All-Star nod, which seems to both cap his remarkable run and provide a glimpse of accolades he could continue to obtain.
“I’m just extremely happy to be voted in by my peers, coaches, the fans,” Gonzalez said. “I just want to thank everyone who voted and I can’t wait to play in my first All-Star game. There are a lot of great players in this league and to be named one of the best ones is incredible, being my second year. I’m just extremely happy right now.”
Ricketts, meanwhile, is atop the league with an astonishingly low 0.47 goals-against average and has nine shutouts on the season. Ricketts, though, said this was more of a team award than anything.
“Unfortunately, the 11 couldn’t go, but I think the four who are going will represent the Galaxy,” he said. “We are going as individuals, but we’ve made it together as a team. I can’t emphasize how much the team has helped everyone this season. It’s an individual award, but it’s a team effort to get this step.”