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Edson Buddle is starting to live up to his namesake

Edison Arantes do Nascimento Buddle was named after the great Pele. He showed early promise and warranted calls up to the U-20 and U-23 US National Teams. He also made an appearance for the full US national team in a friendly in 2003 against Venezuela. Unfortunately he started to pick up injuries and did not play well for a number of years. He bumped around MLS after leaving the Columbus Crew and eventually wound up playing for Los Angeles. He has slowly come back into form over the last couple of seasons and is now on a red hot scoring streak.

Edson Buddle was considered to have excellent talent as a youngster, but was also considered to be extremely lazy. In fact many people compared Eddie Johnson to Edson Buddle saying that he had excellent natural talent, but was not professional enough to reach full potential. Eddie Johnson certainly surpassed Edson Buddle’s accomplishments, but it looks as though Edson Buddle may finally be coming good on all the talent he possesses.

Edson Buddle played well last season and scored some decent goals. However, it looked as though he was simply benefiting from the talent around him, which included Landon Donovan and David Beckham. Also, last season he still appeared sluggish at times. He didn’t always get back on defense quickly. This season is very different. Edson Buddle looks extremely dangerous and hard working. He doesn’t have David Beckham feeding him crosses or taking pressure off of him. Of course he is still getting help from Landon Donovan.

He has scored 7 goals in the last 4 games. The goals have come in many different ways. Buddle has scored off headers, with well taken shots, and with close one time tap ins. He is getting to the right place at the right time. He is also finally using his strength to muscle off defenders. He is making runs and getting rewarded for his hard work. He is also showing clinical finishing skills by not wasting his opportunities.

We’ve seen glimpses of this before from Edson Buddle, so what is different? Well, Buddle is hustling back on defense. He is playing really strong and holding up the ball for his team mates. He is also creating goals on his own. He put an excellent shot past Pat Onstad from a very tight angle. He has also shown some trickery and beaten defenders with footwork and speed to pick up dangerous free kicks. He is showing confidence in everything he does.

Edson Buddle is 28 years old. Most strikers tend to reach their peak around age 27, so Buddle is right at the point where he should be playing his best soccer. However, I think his performance so far this season comes down to Buddle buckling down over the last couple of seasons. There are reports that his lazy demeanor has been replaced by a professional, hard-working attitude. This in addition to coaching and encouragement he is receiving from Bruce Arena, Landon Donovan, and others has finally paid dividends.

As MLS teams start to key in on Edson Buddle to stop him from scoring, we are going to see how good he can be. If he continues his form, then maybe he deserves a call from Bob Bradley. What do you think?

One Comment

  1. The guy I’m watching is Herculez Gomez. He just scores and scores. It’s amazing when you realize he basically wasted 3-4 of his career because some coaching geniuses decided he was a winger, not a striker. Some people talk about his recent play as just “form” and not “class.” I say it’s simply a matter of him playing the right position. Bradley has to call him up for the friendlies.

    As for Buddle? No such issues. Just streaky maybe.

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