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U.S. World Cup players return to MLS play

Hope everyone back home enjoyed the Fourth of July festivities. Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle certainly did.

Days after returning from U.S. World Cup duty, the Los Angeles Galaxy duo partnered in the 19th minute to launch the Los Angeles Galaxy on its way to a 3-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders on Sunday evevning before a sellout crowd of 27,000 at Home Depot Center and an ESPN2 audience.

Nine time zones from their South Africa adventure, Buddle nodded in Donovan's corner kick for his MLS-leading 10th goal. Donovan tops the assists list with 10. At the midway point of its league calendar, the Galaxy is 11-1-3 with 36 points, 25 goals scored and five conceded.

The other U.S. players back with their MLS clubs over the weekend:

Forward Robbie Findley, who started thrice for the Americans, came on at halftime Friday and scored in the 85th minute of Real Salt Lake's 5-0 rout of the New England Revolution; and Jonathan Bornstein, who started at left back in the last two U.S. matches, lined up in midfield for Chivas USA on Saturday and played 85 in a 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union.

By Steve Goff  |  July 5, 2010; 4:44 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , MLS , U.S. men's national team  | Tags: Edson Buddle, Jonathan Bornstein, Landon Donovan, MLS, Robbie Findley, World Cup  
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Donovan was pretty happy in the postgame interview but was asking Arena for some time off. He probably won't have too many more MLS appearances before he goes off to Manchester City or wherever.

LA comes to RFK July 18.

I wouldn't mind if MLS tried to hang onto Donovan til the end of the season as he is the best player on what is clearly now the best team in the league. But it could lower his transfer value if they don't sell him this summer.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | July 5, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

MLS has to do something about keeping its national team (read: "best") players. It can't be seen forever as a departure point to Europe for these players. I know some defections are inevitable, but with MLS's rules so slanted towards allowing big contracts, through the very ill-advised Beckham rule, only to foreigners, teams have no or little incentive to spend the DP money on US players.

Perhaps an additional DP level of cap-exempt players that only USMNT pool players are eligible for could remove the disincentive for the Michael Bradleys, etc, of the world to stay in the US.

Why throw the big MLS team money at foreigners who view coming to play in MLS as vacation (Beckham, Hermisillo, Gallardo) and have no vested interest in the long-term success of the sport in the US? If MLS is truly invested in the future of the business in the US, it should invest in it more.

Posted by: lgm6986 | July 5, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Bob Bradley's real screw up was not starting Edson Buddle...

Posted by: alan19 | July 5, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Buddle should definitely have seen more time. Perhaps as a starter, or instead of Gomez in the OT vs. Ghana. He was my big goal-scoring hope for the tourney, and I was disappointed not to see him more. I'm loathe to engage in Bradley-bashing, but I thought this was a mistake, especially in light of his goals against the Aussies. He always looks a little slow and awkward, but the scores goals...which is the whole point. You can have all the speed on the ball you want, dazzling dribbling skills and powerful shots, and you end up with Leo Messi...who took more shots than anyone and did not score.

Posted by: fischy | July 5, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

It made sense to start Findley vs England with the speed mismatch and because we'd be looking to counter. And I have no problem with Gomez off the bench late since that's his niche. But Buddle should have started against Slovenia, and barring something craptastic, Algeria and Ghana as well.

I have to wonder what BB was thinking as he watched the Donovan-Buddle connection last night.

Posted by: benonthehill | July 5, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

There is nothing that limits DP status to foreign players.

Frankly I think the US 2010 WC experience will, at least, temper the bias favoring players who suck in Europe over those who dominate in MLS. I'm assuming there's no need to get into specifics here.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | July 5, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Donovan is a DP and he was earning DP money prior to the Beckham rule being in place. There is no restriction for using the DP slot only on international talent, there are just so few USMNT players that are worth it.

Like it or not, MLS is not the place (right now) for our pool to mature. It is the place for the new player to get their start and recognition. Our players need to be playing against and with the best in the world for them to really mature into what we need.

Until MLS can attract the best in the world while they are still in their prime, we will continue to be a feeder league. And that isn't really a bad thing.

If MLS had been a top tier league, would Dempsey or Howard be where they are? How about Donovan who was languishing in Germany?

Posted by: iamgnat | July 5, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and I sincerely doubt whether any Euro club is going to meet MLS' price for an outright transfer of Donovan. Except Man City, and I loathe the idea of LD ending up there, of all places. He deserves a real team.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | July 5, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Buddle on Bob Bradley being present at the game: “It’s always good to do well in front of Bob. To get a goal, in my first game back, and for him to be in stands is a good thing.”

Donovan on the play of Edson Buddle:“He was great. He’s right back where he left off. I know he was a little bit disappointed not to play more in South Africa but it says a lot about him that he was able to come back, put it all behind him and just get on with it.”

Posted by: emanon13 | July 5, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Let's not get so wrapped up in the national team and European possibilities that we can't pause long enough to observe:

Seattle sucks!

Posted by: OWNTF | July 5, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

obviously Buddle should have started with Jozy in our Last 3 games. Findley ok versus England. But Buddle is a starter and he scores goals in the first half, he's got a good header and a quick shot and he's not one to score only in MLS. he's little time with the Nats in pre-WC games showed that he can score.

Posted by: godpere | July 5, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

The MLS will never compete with the Spanish, English or Italian top-division leagues to get the best players. It can strive to be like the Dutch league which is a feeder for the bigger European leagues.

Posted by: jabreal00 | July 5, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I longed for Buddle to start in the WC if for no other reason than his LA partner Landon Donovan would know where to look for him. It usually works to keep teammates together when possible on an eclectic team.

Posted by: b18bolo | July 5, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree with all of the supportive comments on here for Edson Buddle. Except for the game against England, I was also continually surprised and very disappointed by BB's decision not to start him. Our strikers had 0 goals so I really don't see what there was to lose either by trying something different and starting EB over Findley. And, really, what kind of coach starts Robert Findley in 3 straight WC games? Did anyone ever ask BB WHY he did that?

Posted by: wise-en-up2 | July 5, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Bob Bradley couldn't even get into a box last night. I thought that was kind of funny he was just sitting in a random section of the stadium with no one sitting near his group.

Posted by: csd1 | July 5, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

I had several issues with BB at the WC:Not starting the in-form Buddle and Edu over Findley and Clark.(Remember what it took to get Charlie Davis on the field?).
Also,what strategies did he use against Algeria,Slowenia,and even Ghana? You can get only so much out of hustle and never-say-die.
Finally, did not S.Holden deserve to come in and "provide fresh legs"?

Posted by: bechtoldpk | July 6, 2010 1:35 AM | Report abuse

To the Godfather:

You are correct that there is nothing that limits the DP rules to foreign players, and I didn't mean to imply that I believed that there is. The de facto practice of those MLS teams who are dipping their beak into the DP pool is seemingly to go with foreign players; my point is that is fine if that what MLS teams need or want for whatever purpose (on the field, marketing, etc). I propose adding a second tier of DP that encourages MLS teams to at least somewhat try to compete with overseas teams for the US players who are bolting MLS. It might not even have to be a dollor-for dollar match; some of these US players might take 70 cents on the dollar of what the Euro team is offering to play at home. We don't know the answer to that question because it has yet to be tried. You know, make him an offer he can't refuse.


Landon was grandfathered into DP status when the rule was instituted and Beckham was signed. An exception was made for him and his salary was deemed not to count against the cap in efect at that time as a means of luring him back from Germany. The ecomonics around him are totally outside all of the other other salary rules under which MLS operates.

Posted by: lgm6986 | July 6, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

csd1, did you expect to see him hanging out with Drew Carey, or Tom Cruise or some other knob? Perhaps Bob was there to watch the game instead of Partying with "Stars"?

Posted by: DadRyan | July 6, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

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