Buddle hopes last week's performance can jump-start season

Forward assisted on second goal, then received MLS Cup ring from former team following match

COMMERCE CITY, Colo.- Saturday night was special for Rapids striker Edson Buddle. Not only did he have one of his more productive games this season in a 2-0 win over his former team, but he also received a well-earned piece of jewelry postgame from Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena.
 
Following the Rapids’ key triumph over the Galaxy on Saturday, in which Buddle provided a skilled assist on Colorado’s second goal (watch above), Arena went into the Rapids locker room to present Buddle his 2012 MLS championship ring.
 
Buddle wasn’t shy to show off his new bling, posting a picture of the ring in the locker room postgame.

 
“[Arena] just said thank you for my time in L.A., and he presented me my [championship] ring,” Buddle told MLSsoccer.com postgame on Saturday. “I was happy to see him and the rest of my fellas, and especially to get my ring.”
 
But even with the championship jewelry in hand, Saturday was far bigger on the field for Buddle. Struggling for much of this season, the bulky striker was all over the field on Saturday, nearly scoring on a second half volley, just minutes after a deft pass set up Dillon Powers’ 47th minute goal that sealed a key three points for the Rapids.
 
“Edson is getting fitter, and that helps. He understood [Saturday] was a big one, not that the other nights don’t mean the same, but Edson [on Saturday] was special,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said postgame on Saturday. “I know it was an emotional game for him. It was unlucky for him that he didn’t score, because he had the chance, but Edson came up huge today for us. It was great for him.”
 
Buddle’s season has mostly been stuck in the mud, slowed by nagging injuries and fitness concerns. But with Buddle now two months clear of his most recent injury, he’s starting to slowly re-gain his form, although by his own admission he’s still nowhere near full game shape. Saturday, however, provided the first tangible proof of Buddle’s hard work, and he hopes it’s just the start of an upward trend.
 
“Each and every day, I’m getting fitter,” said Buddle, who has two goals in 15 games this season. “I’m not as fit as I’d like to be, but [there are] challenges, and I’m looking forward to overcoming them.”
 
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.