The only disappointment Saturday night for the Galaxy was Edson Buddle’s inability to score a goal and win the Golden Boot, Major League Soccer’s scoring championship. It seemed to bother his teammates more than it did Buddle.
He was quite happy with what he did win.
“I enjoyed the win and getting the Supporters’ Shield as a team,” said the big striker, who scored a career-best 17 goals for the Galaxy. “We wanted to continue to lead [the league] and finish off strong. I’m very happy with that. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the Golden Boot, but I would say you take the bitter with the sweet, you know? And there’s still more to be accomplished. The finals is what my main focus is.”
It was certainly a sweet season for Buddle, whose prowess in front of the net led to a trip to the World Cup and a lot of MVP talk. Landon Donovan, the Galaxy’s other MVP candidate, called Buddle “by far the best player in the league.”
San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski won the scoring title with 18 goals, four of them in the final week, 10 in the Earthquakes’ last nine games and 12 in their last 13. Buddle said Wondolowski “earned it, and I’d say it’s a good job on his part. Give him credit. He got a couple of hat tricks -- I’ve done that before. You can’t take away the credit from him.”
Buddle had topped the goals list from the start of the season into the final week, and his teammates were unhappy he couldn’t get a goal in Saturday’s win over FC Dallas. He nearly scored from a David Beckham corner kick in the 67th minute, but Hoops goalkeeper Dario Sala, with his best save of the night, one-handed the shot wide of the right post.
Had the Galaxy won a penalty kick, his teammates were going to insist Buddle take the shot.
“I was bummed for him,” Donovan said. “Awards like that are always disappointing, because in the end, Edson gets punished for making the World Cup team. I don’t know how many games he played [28 to Buddle’s 25], but Wondolowski was there are year and had opportunities to play in more games. Taking nothing away from him -- the kid did great this week to go out and win it -- but I think, all in all, Edson from day one through this weekend has been by far the best player in the league.”
Buddle won plenty of individual honors Saturday. He was the Galaxy’s MVP, Golden Boot and Humanitarian of the Year, and the Riot Squad -- the Galaxy’s most vocal supporters group -- gave him their MVP award, too, and that comes with a handsome trophy.
Head coach Bruce Arena’s take:
“I think Edson probably would tell you at this point the win’s more important than the individual award. And just in case it isn’t, we loaded him up at the end of the game anyway. He got enough stuff tonight that he can go home happy.”