Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com
For the other 18 teams in MLS, knocking the Los Angeles Galaxy off their perch atop the league just became a bit more difficult.
U.S. national team forward Edson Buddle is rejoining the Galaxy after being released from his contract with FC Ingolstadt 04 on Tuesday, sources told SBI. Los Angeles maintained his MLS rights following his free transfer to Ingolstadt last January, and the club will welcome him back into the fold for what is shaping up to be the league's most potent attack. In 2010, his last season in MLS, Buddle scored 17 goals, finishing second to Chris Wondolowski for the league's golden boot.
With Buddle starting alongside Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan and David Beckham occupying spots in the midfield behind them, the Galaxy will have a wealth of All-Star-caliber attacking talent. Buddle also provides more than ample cover for when Keane has to leave the club for Republic of Ireland duty at Euro 2012.
Despite all of the star power on the roster, the Galaxy are able to afford Buddle by shedding a good chunk of salary from the books this offseason with the losses of players like Juninho, Donovan Ricketts, Jovan Kirovski and Gregg Berhalter. Los Angeles also received allocation money from Montreal in exchange for Ricketts to boost its financial flexibility, something that helped facilitate bringing Buddle back to the Home Depot Center.
Buddle played for the Galaxy from 2007-2010 before heading overseas to Ingolstadt last winter when his MLS contract expired, joining the 2. Bundesliga club midseason. He helped Ingolstadt stave off relegation and was tied for the team's lead in goals this season with six before being sent away from the club for unspecified reasons prior to the league's winter break.
While in club limbo, Buddle trained with West Ham and was on trial with Everton and Belgian side Westerlo before ultimately returning to MLS.
What do you make of Buddle's return? Think the Galaxy are a lock to repeat as MLS Cup champions?
Share your thoughts below.