Photos by ISIphotos.com
By ADAM SERRANO
TORONTO — In Robbie Keane and Edson Buddle, the Los Angeles Galaxy may have the most talented, productive and explosive forward tandem in MLS history.
Both experienced forwards bring a goal-scoring pedigree to the Galaxy. Both seemingly complement one another as Keane's speed seems to provide the perfect balance to Buddle's brawn. The only thing missing from the pair? Time to gel.
Keane, who had been away from the club since the start of the year on loan to English side Aston Villa, re-joined the club on Friday after a two-month loan with the Premier League club. By the time the Galaxy take on Toronto FC on Wednesday in their first leg CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal matchup, Keane and Buddle will have had time for just three training sessions together.
Now, with the club's passage into the semifinal round hanging in the balance, the two strikers will have to formulate an effective partnership immediately.
"It has to doesn't it?" Keane told reporters on Sunday before the team departed for Canada. "When you get thrown in straight away sometimes that's even better. When you get too much preparation and too much work sometimes you over-confuse situations."
The chance to play with Keane was admittedly a boost for Buddle as he was contemplating a return to MLS and the Galaxy after a being let go by second-tier German side FC Ignolstadt 04. When Buddle completed his return to the Galaxy in mid-January, the charamistic forward was all-smiles when asked about playing with an accomplished forward like Keane.
After two training stints alongside the Irishman, Buddle — who scored 17 goals for the Galaxy in 2010 and missed out on the league's Golden Boot when Chris Wondolowski won it on the final day of the season — feels that the pair can accomplish something special.
"Robbie has the same confidence as David [Beckham] with the experience that he has. I'm sure that he likes to play the ball on the ground and collectively he'll link up with players," said Buddle, who attended a Los Angeles Lakers game with Keane and other Galaxy teammates on Sunday. "I'm looking forward to doing that because that's kind of my game. I like to link-up with players and tryto get behind the defense."
As Buddle returned to the Galaxy, Keane was half a world away on loan with Aston Villa, but he kept tabs on every move that the club made during the offseason. While in Birmingham, Keane was kept abreast with the latest Galaxy news through conversations with head coach Bruce Arena and midfielder David Beckham, who gave Buddle a glowing recommendation.
"I've only trained with him for a couple of days, but I've heard some good things about him," said Keane. "He obviously can score goals, has done that in the past, so I look forward to hopefully getting a good partnership."
The lack of preparation time will not be the only thing that the pair will need to deal with on Wednesday. They will be responsible with generating offense on the harsh field turf surface of the Rogers Centre in front of more than 40,000 fans.
Regardless of the situation, the ever-confident Buddle, who briefly played for Toronto FC in 2007, believes that the pair can get on the same page and have success right out of the gate.
"[Keane is] easy to get along with," said Buddle." Soccer is an easy language to understand."