LA Galaxy forward and MLS leading scorer Edson Buddle can now call himself a World Cup veteran, having earned 39 minutes in two substitute appearances in South Africa. But that designation hasn't gone to Buddle’s head.
Now back in the US and with the LA Galaxy, Buddle is aware of the protests from USA fans claiming the New York native should have featured more prominently at the World Cup.
“It makes you feel good, but at the same time, I don’t know if I was the answer,” he said after the USA practiced on Monday afternoon ahead of their friendly against Brazil. “It’s a compliment that people would like to see me out there, but every game you’re being evaluated. Every time you get another chance to play and prove yourself. It’s always a blessing to get another call-up.”
Buddle didn’t get much of a break after the World Cup. Following the USA's elimination at the hands of Ghana on June 26, he returned to the Galaxy in a memorable July 4 victory against Seattle. It would be his first of three goals in four straight league matches, taking his league-leading total to 12 goals.
WATCH: Buddle scores on San Jose
Despite his individual success, the Galaxy are enduring their toughest stretch of the season with an uncharacteristic home loss to Chicago sandwiched in between a two-leg elimination in the CONCACAF Champions League. Buddle has a theory as to what has happened to LA and he says the World Cup may have played a part.
“We’re kind of out of our rhythm,” Buddle said. “Going back to my team [after the World Cup] and trying to settle back in is challenging. Hopefully now with not being in CONCACAF, things will slow down and we can get back in a rhythm.”
Buddle hopes LA can return to executing on the basics, and he believes the goals will follow for him. He will need them if he hopes to maintain his lead atop the MLS scoring charts.
NY Red Bulls forward Juan Pablo Angel, who faces the Galaxy on Saturday on Fox Soccer Channel, is closing in fast and stands just one goal behind Buddle. Ángel, however, has Thierry Henry dishing the assists now.
“He’s close [in the goal-scoring standings],” Buddle said. “He’s a good striker, but he’s got to let the young guys get some scoring titles sometimes.”
He may talk a good game when it comes to MLS, but Buddle’s humility comes through in the US National Team setting. He goes out of his way to express how appreciative he is of his chance at another camp.
For this match against Brazil, Buddle was joined on the cross-country flight from LA by Galaxy teammates Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez, who is in search of his first USA cap.
“They sat Omar next to Landon, and I think it was by design,” Buddle said. “He could ask Landon all the questions. I’m upset I wasn’t sitting next to Landon because I still have a lot of questions.”