When I wrote about Juan Pablo Angel being forced out of the New York Red Bulls, it was a bit of a shattered dream seeing him not pairing up top with Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez anchoring the back of the midfield to help with distribution to these two. Obviously with the improvements of RBNY academy graduate Juan Agudelo, the club made the decision not to re-sign Angel for a new contract.
When Major League Soccer created the Re-Entry draft for those players with current contracts that expire, other sides can claim those who were being pushed out and acquire them. It was a complete surprise when the Los Angeles Galaxy picked up Angel where some speculated he was going to stay on the east coast.
Of course with contract negotiations going on there are always other rumors floating around that Angel might have returned to Argentina with his old club in River Plate, but as of Wednesday, January 19 Angel was signed to a Designated Player contract and is with a brand new triple threat with American international Landon Donovan and David Beckham.
Right off the bat you’re thinking that the Galaxy are the early favorites to win the MLS Cup, US Open Cup and doing well in the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League. With Edson Buddle moving on to Ingolstad of the German Bundesliga Two division maybe it’s time to see Donovan pair up with Angel with Beckham feeding them the ball.
Of course the man who made this all possible and brought Angel originally to MLS back in 2007 is General Manager and Head Coach Bruce Arena. When the Designated Player rule was created it was to help all the clubs bring in a top player and of course bring attention to the league. Angel was playing for Aston Villa at the time and when he was informed that Bruce Arena wanted him to come over, he signed on during the winter transfer window in January.
Once again the same man who brought him to New York City has brought him to Los Angeles and at the moment it looks like the Galaxy on paper are going to have another strong start when the 2011 season starts on Tuesday, March 15. But if the Galaxy are going to be considered the early favorites Angel is going to have to change or tweak his game.
During his time with the Red Bulls, Angel kept falling back into the midfield trying to create a run of any kind. While I understand he felt as Captain he had to find any form of a spark for his side, it cost any opportunity to get goals. Yes he had Joel Lindpere last season, but there were times he still fell back to the midfield. He can still be an attacking threat if he remains up top and just accepts a solid pass from Beckham and any other midfield player.
I hope he will enjoy his new surroundings in Los Angeles and will continue to have the success that he has shown in the last several years, but something tells me that age has slowly caught up to him and he’ll be much slower than before.