HOUSTON, TX - MAY 26: Edson Buddle #14 of the Los Angeles Galaxy attempts to get around Bobby Boswell #32 of the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on May 26, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Edson Buddle continues to be listed as out with recovering from surgery on his right knee, and Leonardo continues to be listed as out with inflammation on his right knee - a complication from surgery performed last season. Neither player made the 18 for Sunday's reserve match, so don't expect the status of either player to change this week.
Truthfully, while injury should never be wished on any player, the Galaxy have improved from the removal of Edson Buddle and now David Junior Lopes. Buddle's absence allowed for the Landon Donovan-Robbie Keane tandem to form which has combined for twenty goals and seventeen assists.
David Junior Lopes' injury resulted in the return of the Galaxy's 2011 back line of DeLaGarza, Franklin, Gonzalez, and Dunivant. Bruce Arena has stated that no player coming back from injury is guaranteed a spot back, but that sounds like coach speech for "don't worry, Buddle is no longer a starting forward". Omar Gonzalez didn't have to earn his spot back.
The goals in Sunday's reserve league match were scored by Villarreal and Stephens. Villarreal is looking for and more like he's destined to be the Galaxy's striker of the future. Michael Stephens as well has shown himself at a talent level above reserve replacement, and could be a piece of the Galaxy midfield in years to come.