Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com
By ADAM SERRANO
For the first time in his illustrious career that has spanned from his native Colombia to Argentina, England and the United States, Juan Pablo Angel will take on a former team in league play. Angel made the high-profile offseason move to the Los Angeles Galaxy from the New York Red Bulls and was expected to make a big splash as the newest Designated Player in Los Angeles.
The fireworks have not gone off as quickly as many may have liked as Angel has struggled with injuries, which have hampered his form at the start of the season. But there is little worry in the Galaxy locker room as following practice on Thursday afternoon captain Landon Donovan came to Angel's defense saying that the team, "has not done a good job of getting him the ball."
Angel admitted that this version of the Red Bulls was "by far, the best squad that they've had in New York," but will be ready to work for his new team when the first whistle sounds.
"It's going to be strange with lots of feelings and emotions playing against a team that I played for a number of years," said Angel, who starred for the Red Bulls from 2007-2010. "It's part of the business, and I'm now part of the Galaxy and I want to defend this club as hard as I did with the Red Bulls."
More news from around the Western Conference is after the jump:
A possession oriented team with a stingy defense that is currently undefeated for several matches. Sound like Real Salt Lake? Wrong. It's Chivas USA. Led by former RSL assistant Robin Fraser, who is returning to Rio Tinto Stadium as his team takes on Real Salt Lake on Saturday, the Goats are unbeaten in their last five matches. Fraser admits that he is not looking to create an RSL duplicate, but simply drawing on his experience rebuilding teams.
"I don't know if we're becoming like Real Salt Lake, but I was there and I would be foolish not to model the rebuilding process here to one that I have seen work," Fraser said. "It's nice to see this group start to come around, and we see signs of building success and in someways it does remind me of the early years with Real."
Aside from Omar Cummings being injured Wednesday night, it's been a solid last couple of days for the Rapids. Colorado snapped the Houston Dynamo's six-game unbeaten streak with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday night in Texas. The win was the first time that the Dynamo had conceded more than a goal at home this season.
Forward Caleb Folan went 45 minutes in the victory and picked up an assist on the game-winning goal, but he got his own good news earlier in the day after learning that he had been named to Ireland's provisional 30-man squad for their upcoming Euro 2012 qualifers.
Brek Shea has been the utilmate utility man for FC Dallas this year, playing in central defense as well as in the midfield. After Shea's audacious game-winning goal against the Galaxy, Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman told ESPN Dallas that, "He's just doing so much for us, I think we need to keep looking at him in that position."
On the injury front, FC Dallas midfielder David Ferreira underwent surgery on Tuesday on his broken ankle. According to Hyndman, the surgery was preformed by Dr. Eugene Curry, who serves as the orthopedic subspecialist consultant to both the Dallas Cowboys and the Dallas Stars.
Nine points at home, but only one away from JELD-WEN Field.
The Timbers are as fierce as Timber Joey's chainsaw at home, but dull on the road having been outscored by their opponents, 9-3. For the Timbers to be a legitimate contender in MLS, head coach John Spencer admits that the team will need to start picking up points away from home.
"I told the guys in the locker room that until we do something away from home we're never going to get any credit for the good wins and good performances here at JELD-WEN Field," Spencer told MLSSoccer.com.
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake is moving past the grieving stage after losing in the CONCACAF Champions League final and is now looking to return to its winning ways. After two straight losses, RSL captain Kyle Beckerman told the Deseret News that the Salt Lake offense needs sharpening.
"Mainly this week we've been working on a lot of offensive stuff just to get a little bit sharper. We're just lacking a little bit of sharpness in front of goal; if we can sharpen that up we should be OK," Beckerman said.
RSL will look for its first victory at Rio Tinto since its loss to Monterrey. To do so would mean topping Fraser, the team's former assistant coach.
Salt Lake forward Alvaro Saborio is still dealing with a knee injury that has the Costa Rican striker mired in a slump. Saborio has not scored since March 15 and was almost rested for RSL's loss to the Portland Timbers on Friday.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes have been a team in dire need of a morale boost and after dealing the Portland Timbers their first loss at JELD-WEN Field in U.S. Open Cup play on Tuesday, the Earthquakes are hoping that their season is about to turn around.
"It definitely means a lot," Quakes forward Chris Wondolowski told MLSSoccer.com. "I think it's just good for the morale for the locker room. Portland's a really tough place to play, the atmosphere's unreal and Portland's a good team. It's a good one that we can really build on."
Seattle Sounders midfielder Mauro Rosales picked up a hamstring injury in the 78th minute of the Sounders defeat to D.C. United on Wednesday night. Rosales sat out the Sounders victory over Toronto FC last weekend and will be evaluated ahead of the Sounders match against the Columbus Crew on Sunday.
Since opening their season on a high note, the Whitecaps have been looking for some luck to go their way. With a 2-1 extra-time victory in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship over the Montreal Impact, they finally got a positive result. Following the match that booked Vancouver's spot in the final, Vancovuer midfielder Terry Dunfield admitted that the team is breathing a sigh of relief.
"There was a little bit of relief in the changing room," Dunfield told MLSSoccer.com. "We got away with one at the end, but we controlled most of the game, and we needed to dig deep and show some character. Sometimes in soccer, you need that little bit of luck to get you through. Hopefully we didn't use it all up tonight."