"Ruthless" Los Angeles Galaxy Team Emerges From Edson Buddle's Shadow

The LA Galaxy is deadly and ruthless.
SEATTLE, Wash.--This week marked the first in the 2010 MLS season in which Edson Buddle didn't either score or assist every goal for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Wednesday, the Galaxy nicked a 1-0 result away against the Colorado Rapids, with Alan Gordon scoring. But the headier result came with a 4-0 shellacking of Seattle Sounders FC in a packed Qwest Field.

Edson Buddle notched an assist on the fourth goal of the match, but played a peripheral part until then. After scoring nine and assisting one of the Galaxy's first 10 goals in 2010, Buddle only has no goals and one assist on the last five.

Even without strikes from Buddle, Los Angeles put in perhaps its best performance since Bruce Arena took over as head coach and general manager in 2008. That's no faint praise, given that this team made it to the 2009 MLS Cup final.

"We're ruthless," grinned Landon Donovan, who assisted three and scored one himself. The LA captain went on to criticize his side for failing to score a fifth and sixth goal in the dying minutes.

Ruthless fits.

"Our attitude starts with Bruce," Donovan continued. "It would have been easy to say, 'We got three points on Wednesday, we'll see what happens here today.' That's not good enough."

Going into Seattle expecting a win, the entire Galaxy team was good enough. In fact, maybe even more impressive than the ease with which the LA attack sliced through the slipshod Sounders backline was the steely organization of LA's defensive posture.

"That's been the key to our success, our organization," said Todd Dunivant.

Note that the fullback, whose diving header tallied the game's third goal, showed not a shred of irony when listing something other than Buddle as the key to the Galaxy's season. As impressive as Buddle has been, the shape and resolve of the LA defense and midfield was better.

In the first half, the referee crew caught Seattle players offside eight times. Defensive organizer Gregg Berhalter shrugged the stat away.

"We had to time our line pretty well, and we did that," the 36-year-old said. "They got a bit impatient."

Seattle played its usual tactic of trying to exploit the pace of Steve Zakuani behind the right fulback. On Saturday, forward-cum-winger-cum-defender Bryan Jordan filled in for the injured AJ DeLaGarza (back spasms) and made the transition seamlessly. His tenacity compensated for any lack of defensive nous, and Jordan never let Zakuani sneak in behind him.

"We made three changes in our lineup from Wednesday's game," pointed out Donovan. "I don't think there's any team in the league that could make three changes like that and come in and get a result like this."

Not many MLS teams will come to Seattle and get a result like this period. The 4-0 drubbing represents the Sounders' biggest home loss in a competitive game in franchise history.

The noise within the Seattle camp leading up to this match centered around trying to stop Edson Buddle. Goal.com asked Donovan if perhaps Seattle concentrated on Buddle too hard and ignored other good players.

"I don't know," Donovan said cheerfully. "I can't tell you what they did or didn't do. They had all week to prepare, so who knows what their focal point was. But we don't care.

"We knew -- when everyone was praising Edson and worried about no one else scoring goals -- we knew we'd come around, and we showed it today."

Donovan admitted the team is desperate to exploit every possible point available while the side is hot. A lull is sure to come, and the Galaxy could have to make do without Donovan (and possibly Buddle) during the World Cup.

On the showing of this performance, that might not be such a problem.

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