SANTA CLARA, Calif. – For weeks when one watched Edson Buddle, it was easy to see just how desperately, the LA Galaxy striker wanted to get on the score sheet.
After returning from knee surgery in August, Buddle has earned valuable minutes in league and CONCACAF Champions League play, but despite creating numerous goal scoring opportunities, he was unable to find the back of the net. After Sunday’s 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes, Buddle needn’t worry about if he’d score again, but only when his next goal will come.
Buddle found the back of the net in the 69th minute of play off a laser cross from Sean Franklin, for his first goal –and third of the year—since May 26 against the Houston Dynamo, the very match that Buddle suffered a tear in his right meniscus, causing him to miss nearly three months of action. Following the goal, the joy was visible on the forward’s face as he ran to the Galaxy bench—particularly equipment manager Raul Vargas— to be congratulated for the strike.
“It felt good, not even just the goal, but the round of play. I felt well moving around and I know it’s a process, but I felt great. It was a good ball from Sean and I was able to score,” said Buddle. “It felt good [to score] and Raul has been telling me to run over to him since I got back so I made sure to make my way.”
The goal comes at the right time for the Galaxy, who may be without the services of Landon Donovan for the club’s final MLS regular season match against Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday. This would mean that Buddle may need to resume his partnership with Keane yet again.
Against the Earthquakes, Keane and Buddle appeared in sync as Buddle’s more physical style opened up spaces behind San Jose’s defenders Victor Bernández and Justin Morrow for Keane to exploit. The partnership found success in the 59th minute when Buddle dished in a cross into the box that found Keane, who smashed in his 16th goal of the season.
After Sunday’s match, Keane had high praise for his strike partner.
“I thought we played well, full credit to Edson, he’s had a long injury and has come back so it was nice for him to get the goal today. He’s a good player and he’s very, very strong, and I think that he’ll be a vital player for us in the coming weeks…I’m sure that goal will do him a world of good.”
Buddle was quick to state that the partnership between him and Keane had grown by leaps and bounds after an initial difficult start.
“I think during the beginning of the year, when I was healthy and just starting out, it was a struggle for the team all around,” said Buddle. “We had new players coming in with Sarvas, myself, and Robbie, we were new playing with each other. It’s a process and there was a little bit of frustration on both sides because Robbie likes to get the ball, I like to get the ball, but we never got down on each other or anything.
“When the team got into a rhythm and started to score goals then I got injured and the team knows that they have to generate through Robbie,” added Buddle. “And I have the understanding and respect for him so I just find him anywhere on the field.”
With his goal drought firmly placed behind him, the eternally-optimistic Buddle is already looking to the future as he looks to carve his place in the Galaxy’s offense come playoff time.
“I’ve always wanted to step in and help this team, which is more important when our two DPs are out,” said Buddle. “I’m a little bit healthier then I was [earlier in the season] so I’m looking to help the team as much as I can.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com