Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle are major reasons the Los Angeles Galaxy lead MLS with their best start in 10 years. It's no surprise they both could be on their way to South Africa.
They'll get one more chance to keep the Galaxy red-hot Saturday night when they host Toronto FC, which hasn't won a road game in 10 months.
Buddle leads MLS with nine goals while Donovan has a league-high nine assists, and both were named to the 30-man preliminary World Cup roster for the United States on Tuesday.
After the Galaxy (7-0-1) face Toronto (3-4-0), Donovan and Buddle will report for a training camp that will determine the final 23 players for the quadrennial tournament, which begins June 11 in South Africa.
The roster deadline is June 1, and Donovan is expected to make the cut, while Buddle is a dark horse. If they make the national team, Los Angeles would be without them for at least four games.
"If there is any guy who deserves to go, it's Edson," defender Gregg Berhalter told the team's website. "He's in great form right now. He's been scoring a tremendous amount of goals for us and he deserves it."
Donovan, a veteran of two World Cups, is the reigning MLS player of the week after scoring a goal, set up by Buddle, and adding three assists in a 4-0 win at Seattle last Saturday.
Despite the Galaxy's unbeaten run and nine-point cushion atop the Western Conference, coach Bruce Arena feels it's too early in the season to praise his team.
"What's typical of the media and the press is to overreact to a team being real good or real bad," he said. "The truth of the matter is the entire league is only eight games in, and there's no clear points to be made yet. Nobody is real good or real bad yet; you kind of conclude that after 30 games, not after eight games."
Los Angeles won both games against Toronto last season, including a 2-0 victory at home on Sept. 19.
Donovan has three goals and two assists in four games against TFC, while Buddle has three goals in five games.
Toronto is trying to snap an 11-game road winless streak, going 0-9-2 since a 3-1 victory at San Jose on July 11.
The club got a road win outside league play Wednesday, as Dwayne De Rosario scored in a 1-0 win over Montreal in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship. That came four days after Toronto had beaten Chicago 4-1 at home behind Chad Barrett's first two goals of 2010.
De Rosario had two of his team-high three assists in that victory, and his six goals this season are more than anyone but Buddle. De Rosario has had a goal or an assist in six straight games.