Angel, Chivas proving to be perfect match

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Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

By JONATHAN VERA

CARSON, Calif. – Juan Pablo Angel may have been in a slump with the Los Angeles Galaxy earlier this season, but at Chivas USA the 35-year-old stiker has proven once again that he still has quality minutes left in his tank.

Why are the Rojiblancos a better fit for Angel?

"It's hard to tell," Angel said. "I participate a little more here in the game in places that I know I'm good at. I know what I've been doing in my career and it hasn't changed. And here, I am proving it again and I'm delighted."

With the Galaxy, Angel shared the spotlight with Landon Donovan and David Beckham and was strictly stationed in the front line, unable to participate in the midfield. Chivas teammate Alejandro Moreno recognized Angel's troubles stating that "with the Galaxy, he was lost in the shuffle a little bit."

With the Goats, however, Angel is running around on all ends of the pitch, getting more involved in the link-up play, and making more passes. It also helped a little bit that the team needed him to fill a vital role on the field.

"He's a class act as a person, and as a player and he came here and looked at it as a challenge," Chivas USA coach Robin Fraser said. "This is a team that needed some help, and that's the impressive thing.

"This has been a good fit for him, because this is a team that generally appreciates and needs all of his qualities. A lot of people can come into difficult situations and really not ingratiate themselves and makes the team's problems their problems, but Juan has really adapted to us and feels like one of us."

Granted, he has been accepted into the team, but one player cannot change the entire dynamic, or lack thereof, of a team. The Rojiblancos had to make changes and start playing better as a whole if they excepted Angel to accomplish anything.

"For him to help us we got to be better on the final third of the field, be more creative, our final passes have to be sharper, and we just have to be better moving with or without the ball," Moreno said.

And they have.

Chivas USA has recently started clicking and delivering precise passes, and this newly found dynamic — albeit one that might be developing a bit too late in the season — was just what the doctor ordered for Angel to fit in successfully.

Since making the move to Chivas in August, Angel has scored six goals in six games, including five in his last three appearances. That's a far cry from the three goals he posted in 22 appearances with the Galaxy.

"It's been very enjoyable," said Angel, whose braces against D.C. United and Toronto FC helped Chivas capture four vital points. "I am finding my game again, and I'm delighted. I wish we were in a better position in the standings, but I'm enjoying what's happening so far."

Angel's influence has been passed on to his teammates, especially the forwards with whom he partners as part of the rejuvenated attack.

"I watch him play and learn things to help my game," 24-year-old Chivas forward Justin Braun said. "He definitely brings a lot of experience to the team. It makes it more competitive, which is good. It's good to have competition in the locker room. I think it'll help Alejandro and I perform better."

Angel's move down the Home Depot Center hallway has been the best thing to happen for the Goats this year, and as the games unfold it's clear to see that they were made for one another. Chivas needed a proven goal scorer, and Angel needed a challenge and to be able to play freely. Whether he remains with the club next season will be a hot issue during the offseason given his recent play, but if Angel returns for a full season, Chivas could boast one of the league's more potent strikeforces in 2012.

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18 Responses to Angel, Chivas proving to be perfect match

  1. Rev up those Revs says:

    Where did this come from? I want Angel to pee in a cup.

  2. ga-gone says:

    Happy to see it. The guy looked done for a while there.

  3. Paul says:

    Nice to see a classy guy doing well. His veteran leadership has seemed to make a difference with Chivas. Rather than complaining about the quality around him, he plays his game and makes others better. (I’m talking to you, Rafa.)

  4. Joamiq says:

    I’ve always been an Angel fan, but I didn’t think he had another 9-10 goal season in him. Clearly I was wrong. Really happy for him. He’s been a model player and person for this league.

  5. gigi says:

    Hands down my favorite redbull/metrostar player, They dont make them like him anymore. Hes a guy that can carry a team on his shoulders. Chivas are lucky to have him, and I am honored to have had him play for my team.

  6. Turd Ferguson says:

    Team chemistry counts. Just look at DeRo and JPA for cases in point. From a Galaxy fan, congrats to JPA.

  7. PetedeLA says:

    I remember seeing him sitting in the stands when the Galaxy played Manchester City. I figured he was injured, but he looked dejected, no one was showing him the love. I’m just a casual fan, but when I saw him I gave him a big thumbs up (mostly because I remember him being awesome in the Premiere League). He lit up and I could just tell it wasn’t a good fit. If he had caught Beckham just a few years earlier (when Beckham could still run up to the corner flag from time to time)then I’m sure he would have gotten the service he needed. But the Galaxy scores a lot of goals off of counters and that just isn’t Angel’s game.

    Nick La Brocca is also the perfect fit for Angel. For me La Brocca is very underrated.

  8. Colin says:

    Angel is a class act. I was stoked when he came to LA but you could tell it just wasn’t working out. I think he got inside his own head too much, with all the pressure placed on him to match Buddle’s output from 2010. You could tell towards the midpoint of the season that he was depressed on the field.

    Glad to see him move to Chivas USA, and hopefully I’m not the only Galaxy fan that gives him a round of applause during the October match.

  9. Rageman says:

    The well wishes and comments by Galaxy fans for a player who “failed” while on their team only shows the class and character that JPA has always had. He’ll always have a place in my football memories because I saw him score many goals on tv in my “formative years”.

    I’m good friends with a Colombian and when I first fell in love with football in ’98, JPA was just coming onto the scene and I saw many awesome goal celebrations after he scored . . . not by him, but by the dozen or so half crazy/half drunk Colombians over at my friends house.I was thrilled he signed with MLS and hope he gets an extension from Chivas or an offer from another MLS squad . . . that only plays on grass

  10. Michael F. says:

    +1

  11. solles says:

    Howsabout DC United and Chivas in the MLS Cup final next year. Hell in this league it could happen.

  12. solles says:

    …and due to a quirk in MLS scheduling, beat the Galaxy in the final as the “Eastern Champion”.

  13. William says:

    This has been class his entire career. Nothing new here. Arena’s boring defensive style stifled his creativity.

  14. Sal says:

    RBNY was in 1st Place with De Ro

  15. San says:

    Half a season doesn’t equal “fail.” They should have let go of scrubs Christman and Barrett before this guy. And Bryan Jordan is a starter? Ridiculous.

  16. Peter says:

    Somebody had to say something about the awful Ream. He has been reamed with USA and NY this year.

  17. Chris says:

    There’s just something that feels “right” about him in the red and white stripes of a Chivas USA uni. that makes me feel like this was meant to be. I’m really glad he’s on the team. There’s three more games left I hope he can score a least a goal a game and get himself another double-digit goal season. He’s pure class.