TORONTO — For Los Angeles Galaxy striker Edson Buddle, it’s always special to score a game-winning goal.
But as a former Toronto FC player, he was especially pleased to lift his team to victory at Toronto’s BMO Field.
Buddle drilled home the winner on a clean breakaway in the 77th minute as the Galaxy defeated Toronto FC 2-1 in front of 20,753 fans Saturday.
“I wanted to get a win here, and to get the winner here was special,” Buddle said. “I had a rough time when I was here, and to get a goal here on the (artificial) turf — which I do not like — it feels even better.”
Buddle was sent in alone on a fine pass from Alan Gordon and Toronto goalkeeper Stefan Frei, returning after missing Tuesday’s Nutrilite Canadian Championship match in Vancouver with a foot infection, was unable to block Buddle’s well-placed shot.
“We lacked quality in front of goal again,” Toronto FC coach Chris Cummins said. “Eighteen attempts and only one goal. I sound like a broken record, don’t I?”
Toronto outshot Los Angeles 18-8 overall, also leading by 11-4 in shots on goal.
Gordon fired the Galaxy into the early lead, heading home his third goal off an Eddie Lewis corner kick just six minutes in.
Toronto had several fine scoring chances in the opening half, but were unable to beat Donovan Ricketts in the Galaxy net.
Pressure from the home side continued after halftime. Toronto native Dwayne De Rosario had two chances to cap a five-man move in the 50th minute, but ended up firing wide.
A great run from Toronto’s Kevin Harmse set up Chad Barrett three minutes later, but his hard shot struck Gordon in the face.
It was Danny Dichio who scored Toronto’s equalizer in the 62nd minute, capping a wild scramble in the Galaxy goalmouth. The first scoring attempt — a header from Marco Velez — hit the left goalpost. Donovan then made a fine foot save off Carl Robinson, but the ball popped up perfectly for Dichio who leapt to head it home.
The Galaxy almost reclaimed the lead four minutes later, when Gordon’s diving header went wide and right. At 68 minutes, rookie defender Omar Gonzalez fired a low crossing shot past Frei, but it too went wide.
Buddle redeemed that miss, scoring the eventual winner nine minutes later.
Toronto was once again without midfielder Amado Guevara and defender Marvell Wynne, both of whom were away on international duty with Honduras and the United States respectively.
“The two of them are big-time players,” Cummins said. “Our other players haven’t come in and taken advantage of their chance.”