Edson Buddle scores both Galaxy goals in 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake
This Buddle’s for you, Galaxy fans.
Edson Buddle, Major League Soccer’s top scorer this season, banged in two more goals on Saturday night and, in the process, made a bit of league history
With 15 minutes left in the game against Real Salt Lake at the Home Depot Center, Brazilian midfielder Juninho took a pass from teammate Chris Birchall and in turn fed the ball to Buddle, who had made some space for himself between two defenders.
In one swift movement, Buddle controlled the ball and then fired a blistering shot that not only earned Los Angeles a 2-1 victory over the defending MLS champions but put Buddle in the MLS record books.
It was Buddle’s seventh goal of the season for unbeaten and untied Los Angeles, making him the first player in league’s 15-year history to score each of his team’s first seven goals of the year.
That’s right, no one else has scored for Los Angeles and yet Coach Bruce Arena’s team is 4-0-0 and atop the league standings. Real Salt Lake fell to 1-2-1.
The Galaxy took the lead 11:35 into the match when Landon Donovan swung a corner kick in from the right and Buddle leaped to send a header spinning into the net just inside the left post, out of the reach of Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
That was Buddle’s sixth goal of the season, tying him with former Los Angeles striker Carlos Ruiz, who also scored the first six goals of the 2002 season for the Galaxy.
Los Angeles might have doubled its lead only two minutes later on another Donovan corner kick. This time, however, Real Salt Lake defender Nat Borchers made sure he was tightly marking Buddle.
Even so, the Galaxy forward got a foot to the ball only to see it fly wide left.
The Galaxy played smooth and fluid soccer, creating chances while at the same time denying Real any clear-cut scoring opportunities.
Four minutes before the first half ended, however, there was a defensive letdown. After a Salt Lake corner kick, the ball was cleared only as far as Real midfielder Kyle Beckerman, about 25 yards out and without a defender near him.
Beckerman settled the ball and fired low shot aimed at the far left corner. Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts dived low to his right to block the shot but the ball skipped up and over his outstretched body.
The goal was the first given up by Los Angeles this season after Arena’s team had shut out the New England Revolution, Chivas USA and the Houston Dynamo in its first three games.
Shortly after the goal, right back Sean Franklin was taken out of the match after suffering a left heel sprain. Salt Lake’s goal came while Franklin was being treated on the sideline.
The second 45 minutes saw the Galaxy apply most of the pressure, with Juninho forcing Rimando into a full-stretch save just before the hour mark.
But it was Salt Lake that came closest to scoring the go-ahead goal, twice hitting the frame of the Los Angeles net in the space of 60 seconds.
First, in the 64th minute, Robbie Findley sent a rasping shot that caromed off the right post after a neat bit of interplay by the visitors. Then, with the Galaxy defense scrambling, Costa Rican forward Alvaro Saborio headed the ball toward the net from close range but his effort skipped off the crossbar.
Having failed to score on those occasions, Real Salt Lake was left to rue the misses when Buddle applied the finishing touch.