BY ADAM SERRANO
Edson Buddle is scoring goals for fun, and as much as he has enjoyed the five goals he has delivered in just three matches, he has enjoyed the three Los Angeles Galaxy victories even more.
"I don't want it to end, I just want to keep winning and putting the ball in the back of the net," said Buddle. "Two years ago, I was scoring, but the team wasn't winning and now we are which is the difference."
Buddle has been at the heart of the Galaxy's early success, scoring in all three matches and equaling his 2009 goal in the process. He has scored in a variety of ways, from finishing off quality service to converting chances of his own creation.
"He's been very opportunistic and put away his chances, but also had a number of great individual efforts to create goals," said Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena. "I think that he's working much harder this year and is far smarter tactically."
To understand the importance of Buddle's hot streak, you will have to go back to the troubling season that the forward had in 2009. Injuries made last season one of the toughest of his career, limiting him to only 19 games on the year, his lowest total since his rookie season in 2001. The injuries led to a change in the way Buddle trained for the start of campaign.
"I stayed in Los Angeles rather than heading back home to New York like I did before, because I was able to workout outside." said Buddle. "While in California, I was able to train with a bunch of California guys in the league, I really think that I'll do this every year."
Buddle will have a fresh reminder of the 2009 season this weekend, as the Galaxy prepares to face Real Salt Lake, the club that defeated them in the MLS Cup final five months ago. On that night, it was Buddle who missed the decisive penalty in the shootout that allowed Real Salt Lake to win the trophy. It was the memory of that chilly night in the Pacific Northwest that motivated the striker to come into the season with a new mentality.
"Losing in the finals left a bitter taste in my mouth and I didn't want the fans to think that losing in the final would slow me down, said Buddle. "I wanted to show them that I still want to win, I just don't want to be remembered for that penalty kick and it was definitely a motivation for my preparations."
Despite the impressive hot streak the forward believes that he has not reached his peak.
"I still feel like I'm not showing the best that I can be, when I find that form I'll know."
The Galaxy scrimmaged on Tuesday afternoon against PDL side, Ventura County Fusion. The Galaxy handled the third division side with ease as Los Angeles won 3-0 with only half the first team in appearance.
Tristen Bowen opened the scoring with a goal in the first minute of the game and added another in the 45th. Brazilian midfielder Juninho added a brace in the second half with a beautiful shot from 25 yards out.
The scrimmage marked Clint Mathis return to the playing field as the midfielder played 75 minute against the Fusion. Mathis could make his debut this week against Real Salt Lake after returning from knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.