Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIPhotos.com
By ADAM SERRANO
CARSON, Calif. — With Landon Donovan, David Beckham and Robbie Keane, the Los Angeles Galaxy boasted one of the strongest rosters in MLS.
Now with the addition of Edson Buddle, the Galaxy's attack may be the finest in league history.
Buddle returns to the Galaxy after leaving the club at the outset of the 2011 season to join 2. Bundesliga side FC Ingolstadt 04. During his three and a half year stint with the Galaxy, Buddle amassed 44 goals in 82 games during three and a half seasons with the club.
Excitement over Buddle's return has reached a fever pitch with Galaxy fans intending to meet the forward when he arrives in Los Angeles International Airport on Friday evening.
“It's nice to have Edson back,” said head coach Bruce Arena, who also confirmed Buddle would return to training Monday. “He's going to be a good addition to our team…We've been in contact with Edson's representative for a while, and we've always made him aware of the fact that if the opportunity presented itself where he could come back, we'd sure like to get him back.”
Buddle returns to the Home Depot Center after a tumultuous few weeks after being dismissed from Ingolstadt Following his departure from Germany, Buddle trained with West Ham and before going on trial with Everton and Belgian side KVC Westerlo. Instead of staying in Europe, Buddle decided to return to the Galaxy, who had retained the forward's rights after he departed for Germany.
Following the high profile departures of Juninho, Donovan Ricketts and Gregg Berhalter, the Galaxy were able to fit Buddle into a squad that already boasts three designated player salaries. The 30-year-old U.S. international will now be tasked with forming a partnership with Robbie Keane, who is currently away with English club Aston Villa. With Keane away till March, Buddle will need to hit the ground running when his Irish strike partner returns.
“Hopefully, it’s going to be good,” said Arena. “There’s going to be a lot of work in there, and he’s not going to have much time to work with Robbie.”
Buddle was not the only addition the Galaxy made on Wednesday with the club acquiring midfielder Kyle Nakazawa and a second round draft choice from the Philadelphia Union in exchange for an international roster slot. A Southern California native, Nakazawa arrives in Los Angeles after two productive seasons with the Union making 36 league appearances and starting 22 games.
Looking to add midfield depth after Juninho's departure in the offseason, Nakazawa joins Beckham, Michael Stephens, Dan Keat and recent acquisition Marcelo Sarvas in the center of the park.
“I think he's a good young player,” said Arena. “I've followed him closely for years, obviously at UCLA and with Philadelphia. He's a player we've always wanted to have here at the Galaxy, and I think it's great to have one of our local players come back as well.”
With two new additions in tow, the defending MLS Cup Champions boast a roster that may be considered one of the finest in league history. However, the Galaxy put no stock on how good their squad looks on paper, choosing to prove themselves on the field instead.
“Paper's not worth anything. I'll be glad to tell you that. It doesn't mean a damn thing,” said Arena. “[The Galaxy's roster] has the makings of being a good team, but we've got to get it done on the field, and we have a lot of work ahead of us.”