This season has been a great success for the New York Red Bulls as everyone knows they have went from worst to first within a season and that change in confidence has been amazing with both Hans Back & Eric Soler in charge of the club. At the same time you saw the one player who came over from Aston Villa and a River Plate legend in Argentina who has shown he has plenty in the tank and wants to lead this club to a possible MLS Cup title and future ones as well.
But sadly it looks like he will be leaving this club at the end of the season and it won’t be his doing. After all the rumors and all the reports coming from the internet, podcasts (Including mine) and his apperance on ESPN 2 for the friendly between the USA and Colombia, Juan Pablo Angel’s tenure with the New York Red Bulls is officially over. While all Red Bulls supporters have enjoyed watching this man give his heart & soul to get a win, sadly this is the other side of the business that we hate to see. There has been no negotiating from management. Whatever offers or reduction in price that Angel would like to agree to, none has come towards his desk at all.
I attended Red Bulls training on Thursday morning at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ getting some information for the clubs upcoming road match down in Philadelphia, Angel came to the reporters and discussed his contract situation. “I know that I won’t be a part of this team next year,” said Angel. “For a fact.” Just hearing it coming out of him honestly made me feel sad from within.
Since coming over from Aston Villa in the 2007 season by Bruce Arena as he and Claudio Reyna were the first two designated players in club history to be signed. Angel cashed in scoring plenty of goals as he was one shy of twenty and he scored that match winner against David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy in front of over 66,000 at Giants Stadium.
Of course he had some problems with a nerve injury that hampered his lower back in 2008, but in the second half of the season Angel was able to score tweleve of his fourteen goals and then led the clubs first MLS Cup Final appearance after defeating the Houston Dynamo in the goal aggregate playoffs and leading the club to win the Western Conference at Real Salt Lake.
But last year which was suppose to be a step forward, became ten steps backwards as they had a horrible year with over managing by Juan Carlos Osorio, red cards being shown at an alarming rate and the only positive that came from that season was Angel passing Giovanni Savarese with the record for scoring career goals within the regular season on August 23rd, 2009 by scoring a brace against FC Dallas.
A Memorable goal from this season by Angel was the stoppage time winner against the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday, June 2nd at Red Bull Arena. A foul from 30 to35 yards away from the net. All Angel did was calmly walk up to the ball, pounded it towards net and got a double deflection off the far post and off the backside of Pat Onstad, then right into the net. Currently he has scored thirteen goals this season and currently is partnered with Thierry Henry.
“When I first came here, I promised I’d commit myself [to the Red Bulls],” said Angel. “I want to give my best for a chance to walk out of here with an MLS Championship.” And from where I could see both at Giants Stadium and at Red Bull Arena, Juan Pablo Angel has always been a consistant professional and to be fair its going to be sad not to see him back with the club for 2011.
He will be admired with the past goal scorers this club has celebrated either as Metro or RBNY. Giovanni Savarese, Clint Mathis and blue collared local hero John Wolyniec. It’s tough to see him being forced out, but if he and the club does win the MLS Cup in Toronto in late November. He will walk away a hero to the hearts and minds of the supporters.