On October 7, 2010, a new connection from midfielder to striker was born on the virgin grounds of PPL Park in the city of Chester, Pennsylvania.
The name: The Buddlebeck Connection.
The Buddlebeck Connection is a combination of Edson Buddle and David Beckham. The 37th minute set piece off a corner in front of the River End and the Sons of Ben told the story on a cool autumn night on the East Coast, where Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy defeated Peter Nowak's Philadelphia Union 1-0 before a crowd of 18,779.
The goal was Buddle's 16th of the season and the assist was Beckham's first of the year.
Aside from applying much needed pressure on Real Salt Lake in the ongoing race for the Major League Soccer Supporters' Shield, Los Angeles (17-6-5, 56 points) can credit their backline for putting on one of their better outings this year.
“It was a good win for us,” Arena said. “We didn’t play particularly well, but the short week and having to travel cross-country, having played Sunday night made for a tough week.
"[It was] one of those games where we certainly know on the road if we get a goal, we're going to try to get off the field 1-0 and we got that accomplished.
“At this point of the season, points are important for us. It was a big win on the road. We’re in good position with two games to go. We’d certainly like to finish on top of the west and win the Supporters' Shield. We have control of those things at this time.”
Donovan Ricketts, who earned his 11th shutout of the season while making key saves in the 73rd and 75th minutes, gets my man of the match.
You know, if this match were held at Victoria Street (and it isn't because MLS utilizes a home-and-home schedule in tune with the rest of the world's leagues), the Big Cat from Montego Bay would be handing the home fans some well deserved chicken from Pollo Campero.
Landon Donovan didn't have that consistent of a game tonight. It was more of a stroll for him, as he opted to let the rest of the team dictate the pace of the match. He did have a chance with a one-on-one opportunity and shifted gears in the latter stages of the second half.
The group of players on the pitch in the white strip that stepped up was Ricketts and the back line. Yep, you guessed it: it was that combo of Sean Franklin, A.J. De La Garza, Todd Dunivant, and Omar Gonzalez that had its share of bad raps and good ones.
This time, they carried Los Angeles on their shoulders on a night where the midfield played mediocre, and the forwards still couldn't finish, aside from the 37th minute strike.
“It was a very good defensive effort,” Arena remarked. “We didn’t produce a whole lot going forward but, again, we did enough to get the goal and keep them on their heels a bit at times. [It was] one of those games where we were going to take the three points on the road like that.”
I'm still waiting for Galaxy manager to give the 4-5-1 the ol' Bradley try because with Sebastien Le Toux having his chances on goal, the Galaxy would have taken some second half possession away from the Union with the 4-5-1. Put Buddle as your striker, Donovan and Beckham in the middle. I will be a bit shocked if Arena stays the course heading into what will be a couple of challenging matches at the Home Depot Center to close the regular season.
Hopefully Fred is all right after suffering a huge gash in the first half of action. I still have respect for this player, who was a key ingredient in the success of the Melbourne Victory a few years back in the A-League. Quite an unfortunate incident, a gruesome one. Hopefully he will be fine.
With the Union in their rear view mirror, Los Angeles has a nine-day layoff before their match with the Colorado Rapids, an opponent that will more than likely punch their ticket to the playoffs. As a matter of fact, when you add the finale on Oct. 24 against FC Dallas, you now have two big home ties that will serve as a preview to the postseason action.
So now, ladies and gentlemen, this is what it all boils down to. The winner of the Supporters' Shield takes care of its opposition on a consistent basis, be it mediocre or Anschutz contender.
I can tell you this much: there will be a lot of Angelinos with Red Bull cans in their hands this Saturday...