TUCSON, Ariz. — Edson Buddle is back. That’s the feeling around the LA Galaxy after their Desert Diamond Cup opening match.
Despite losing the match, 3-2, the Galaxy were satisfied with the way things went — particularly the play of Buddle, who scored LA’s first goal in the 31st minute, heading home a pinpoint cross from David Beckham.
“He probably had six good goal-scoring opportunities tonight,” head coach Bruce Arena said after the match. “He was dangerous. The ball didn’t go in, but it’s really encouraging to see a striker get those kind of opportunities. He did a lot of good things tonight.”
Buddle, who scored 16 goals for the Galaxy in 2010, spent the past year with Ingolstadt in Germany. He rejoined LA in January after a trial with Everton did not lead to a contract. The Galaxy players are understandably thrilled to get their onetime ace back.
“He gets himself in great positions,” Beckham said. “That’s what you want from a forward. You want a forward to work hard for you. Edson’s always done that. He’s a great addition to have back in the team.”
Since Buddle left the club after the 2010 season, there have been several changes. Skillful newcomers such as Marcelo Sarvas and Pat Noonan have come in and will have important roles over the upcoming season.
“The players are a lot more confident on the ball,” Buddle said when asked about how the team has changed since he left. “It was good to see. They don’t panic and lump the ball forward. Bruce did a good job to bring those guys in.”
On Wednesday night, those confident players showed their class. Several times, intricate passing moves led to chances, particularly for Buddle.
“I like to combine with players instead of going direct,” he said. “It’s better for me to link up."
Watch the LA Galaxy take on Real Salt Lake LIVE on Saturday, February 25, at 8 pm ET, on MLSsoccer.com Channel 1.