Galaxy looking forward to Toronto trip

STEVEN SANDOR, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:32 PM ET

The inspiration for the Los Angeles Galaxy's eight-game unbeaten run to start the MLS season is no secret.

This is a team with something to prove. The players and coaching staff of the Galaxy, who face Toronto FC in Carson, Calif. on Saturday night cannot shake the memories of last year's MLS Cup game.

The Galaxy was one of the top teams in MLS, while Real Salt Lake crawled into the playoffs on the final day of the season as the No. 8 seed. The Galaxy had a 1-0 lead on RSL at halftime. But L.A. lost. RSL came back to tie the game and won it on penalties.

The Galaxy had to use a back-up keeper as regular No. 1 Donovan Ricketts was

injured during the game.

It all went wrong.

And now the Galaxy is taking out its vengeance on the MLS as a whole.

The Galaxy isn't just beating up the opposition. It is embarrassing the opposition. This season, the Galaxy has scored 15 times. It has given up two.

Two. In eight games. That's a goal every month or so.

“I think that game left a real bitter taste in our mouths,” said Edson Buddle, who leads MLS with nine goals in just eight games. “It was very hard to lose like that in the final. We still have a lot of guys here who were on that team last year.”

For Buddle and his teammates, the fact the Galaxy is four games away from tying the MLS record of 12 games undefeated to start a season doesn't matter.

“It's not something we talk about,” he said.

No, what matters for the Galaxy is a trip to Toronto in late November for this year's MLS Cup final. And, the way the Galaxy is playing at the moment, it would take a really brave person to bet against Bruce Arena's charges.

Not only is Buddle leading the league with nine goals, reigning league MVP Landon Donovan leads the league with nine assists.

Donovan Ricketts leads the league in a slew of goalkeeping categories.

Heck, when the MLS All-Stars meet Manchester United in late July, it really might be the Galaxy against United, with a couple of other players thrown in.

Buddle said his torrid start to the season is a result of the team's efforts.

“I think the credit has to go to all of our players,” he said. “The service has been great. They have made my job a lot easier. Have I been hot like this before? Yes I have. I was player of the month (in August 2002) with the Columbus Crew. But I have never started a season like this before.”

Buddle has been so hot, he's made the 30-man roster for the U.S. national team. No one would have predicted that at the start of the MLS season. He will go to coach Bob Bradley's camp and try to be one of the final 23 who goes to South Africa. Both Buddle and Donovan will leave for the camp on Sunday, just hours after the TFC match. Now that Charlie Davies, America's top striker, wasn't cleared to play as he recovers from a car accident, Buddle's road to making the team got just that much clearer.

“Really I just came into the season prepared to play the best that I can. I wanted to keep a job. That was it. I started off really well and I got the call. It's very special for me and my family.”

A lot sure has happened to Buddle since he was a Toronto FC striker for just the first few weeks of the club’s inaugural regular season, in 2007. He was the player who slipped the ball to Danny Dichio for the franchise's first-ever goal. He got two assists in the Reds' first ever win.

But he didn't score while he was here, and he was traded to Los Angeles for central defender Tyrone Marshall, who is now with Seattle.

To Buddle, his time in Toronto seems like such a long time ago.

“Time does fly.”


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