BY ADAM SERRANO
It was a story of two teams on the opposite end of the spectrum at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night. The high flying Los Angeles Galaxy was able to make quick work of the slumping Philadelphia Union in a 3-1 victory.
As the Galaxy continued its undefeated run, the story was once again the superb play of forward Edson Buddle, who earned his eighth and ninth goals of the season. The forward put in what may be his most complete performance of the season as he provided the assist on A.J. DeLaGarza's opening goal while also putting in a pair of his own. At the end of the match, even Union coach Peter Nowak felt that his young strikers could learn from Buddle's example.
"Edson is good example for all the players around the league who continue to try to improve year by year," said Nowak. "It's a wonderful example of our youngsters to see how he works and how he creates space for himself and his teammates."
Facing an overmatched expansion side, the Galaxy offered constant pressure throughout the night and immediately put the Union on their back heel. Only 53 seconds into the match, A.J. DeLaGarza was able to find the back of the net in what was the second fastest goal scored in Galaxy history. Offering his most complete performance yet, the Galaxy attack centered around the superb play of Buddle. Doing his job to put pressure on the back line of the Union, Buddle was instrumental in winning possession which allowed the Galaxy midfield to generate scoring chances.
"The goals are coming from the weight of the pass which gives me more time to create and the quality of the team that we were playing really helped," said Buddle. "This is just a great feeling and I'm enjoying every part of it right now."
Although Buddle and the offense has earned a great deal of the praise to start the season, it was the Galaxy defense that did the most significant job to shut down the Union. Although Philadelphia was able to earn possession early, the Galaxy back line was able to force turnovers that allowed the Galaxy to make runs up field.
"We've had to shift around with a lot of guys being injured and lots of guys coming in and out, but its been okay," said defender Gregg Berhalter. "We're disappointed to let up a goal when we should of had a shut out but all in all we're satisfied because a tough team to score on is a tough team to beat."
For the Union, the club appeared overmatched by a dominant Galaxy club. After giving up its third goal of the match, frustrations got the best of the Union after former Galaxy midfielder Stefani Miglioranzi was red carded for a two-footed tackle from behind on Juninho. Facing the hottest team in the league was always going to be a tough test for the expansion side, but captain Danny Califf felt that the club had no excuses for its play.
"Right now it's frustrating, but I hope that we're going to be able to sit down with cool heads and look at the tape so that see where we can improve," said Califf. "I'm tired of hearing that we're a young team, it is what it is and I think that we're taking our lumps early so hopefully we can turn things around and salvage some points on the road."
There were bright spots for Philadelphia as 17-year-old forward Jack McInerney earned his first career goal. Capitalizing off a Galaxy miscue, Fred found a great deal of space offered by the Galaxy defense and calmly fed McInerney, who beat a diving Donovan Ricketts for his first goal. Although the goal only made a small dent in the scoreline, McInerney was confident that it was a sign of better things to come for the Union.
"It was good to get the first goal out of the way, but it helped us keep our heads up," said McInerney. "We're getting better with every game that we play and the results that we're getting are unfortunate, but we just need to keep playing."
The Galaxy will now head on the road for their next pair of matches. On the road against the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday and followed by a date with the Seattle Sounders in the Pacific Northwest on Saturday. For the Union, the club's rough road schedule will continue as the club heads to Salt Lake to take on the defending champion Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium.