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Juan Pablo Angel Signs for LA Galaxy: Is The Galaxy Now Early Cup Favorites?

juan pablo angel Juan Pablo Angel Signs for LA Galaxy: Is The Galaxy Now Early Cup Favorites?

Photo by Shawn M. Smith

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.

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14 Responses to Juan Pablo Angel Signs for LA Galaxy: Is The Galaxy Now Early Cup Favorites?

  1. Charles says:

    Wow, I thought this was a dead deal.
    I am in the minority most likely, I don’t think LA is going to be that good.

    What is the average age of this team ?
    Hedjuk, Beckham who both looked very old last year.
    Now JPA ?

    IF, Big IF maybe, they all start, a third of your starters are old. There goes the counter-attack. So are they going to press forward with a guy that doesn’t do that naturally, with Hedjuk in the back…and Beckham who doesn’t run the field well ?

    Not sure what LA is thinking. The went from worst to first by getting a young stud on D. Should have kept going in that direction, IMHO.

  2. Tom says:

    I’m curious to see how this works out for the Galaxy. This is an example of why I like the DP rule and why the league is more fun to watch than it was 5 years ago.

  3. Charles says:

    LA signed him as a DP !

    Man, I don’t get that at all. Don’t sign Buddle, sign him ?

    Maybe money equal, Buddle just wanted to move on.

    • Tom says:

      I assumed he was; I didn’t check. I like Angel, but I agree I’d rather have the younger Buddle. As you said, maybe Buddle wants a new challenge.

  4. Robert Hay says:

    I am not shocked by the Angel as a DP signing. He made it very clear that he wanted DP money, and Buddle going to Germany helped with Angel’s demands.

    Now is LA the MLS Cup favorites? Assuming things break right for them (Angel and Beckham stay healthy, Beckham stays, players Like Omar Gonzalez don’t leave on transfer) then they should be one of the best teams in MLS. But I still think their backline is a weakness and I would place them behind RSL in the favorite’s list.

  5. Hmmm... says:

    I think the Galaxy are going for it in 2011, and you’ll see a massive roster overhaul next winter. They’ve got a lot of players that have expiring contracts in December (Beckham, Berhalter, Kirovski, Magee, Hejduk), and some young players who may seek bigger paydays (Gonzalez, Franklin).

    Regardless, I think LAG are neither better, nor worse today than they were at the conclusion of last season. They’ll be a favorite, not the favorite.

    • Charles says:

      I would be interested to see what other readers say about their favorites list for next year.

      LA ?
      Does Dallas fall from close to undefeated ?
      Salt Lake continue to look great ?
      Sounders ?
      Rapids ?

      An Eastern team ? nah, nevermind, didn’t we relegate the East Coast and bring up Portland and Vancouver ?

    • El Profe says:

      I think so too. LA will be a favorite, not necessarily the favorite.

      1. Real Salt
      2. New York
      3. Los Angeles
      4. Seattle
      5. Dallas

      • Charles says:

        I wish you would have gone down a little further, because my guess is that you don’t have any more Eastern teams in the top 8….wait top 10 is playoffs. Man that was a dumb move by MLS.

        Unless realignment sends teams we are not expecting East, there is noone there that improved enough or didn’t fall off a cliff like Columbus.

        I am going to say
        1. Salt Lake
        2. Dallas
        3. LA
        4. NY
        5. Seattle

        I think Seattle could pass NY and LA depending on how Montero does.
        He was so much better when he cared than when he didn’t and it scares me that he didn’t care. He just signed a contract…does he care ?
        NY is the big questions mark for me. Does Henry play ? Does he play well ? The team has a lot of holes, do the studs make up for those ?
        LA is one injury away from not making the playoffs, but I am not talking Beckham…Gonzalez or LD go down and they are finished.

  6. El Profe says:

    The average age, including draft picks, is 26 years old.

    The delay in the deal was over post-DP earnings. It was widely known that Angel would be signed for DP-money.

    MLS offered Buddle more than 2x his salary from 2010 but he rejected it. Ingolstadt offered him more than 2x his new salary that MLS had offered. Still haven’t seen anything about the detail of this new contract, but should Buddle return to MLS, Los Angeles still holds his rights.

    I don’t agree that Los Angeles will be worse off than last year. I think they’ll be better. Donovan will be better rested, Beckham will be in his first preseason camp with LA, and in general, there is better depth on the team. Angel is a bit of a different mold than Buddle, but we have a much better secondary forward in Barrett and a better back-up in Christman than last year.

    Starting XI: 4-4-2
    Ricketts – Dunivant, DeLaGarza, Gonzalez, Franklin – Donovan, Juninho, Birchall, Beckham – Barrett, Angel

  7. ExtraMedium says:

    When Beckham’s deal ends the smart move is making Gonzalez a DP…But Gonzalez doesn’t score goals so I’d be shocked if that happened.

  8. Michael says:

    I think a better and more important question is, Are Galaxy the early Shield favorites?

    • Tom says:

      I wouldn’t say more important, but more answerable- that is, a prediction that can actually be guessed at. The cup is determined by 4 games 10 months from now- who knows who will be playing well. The shield starts in 2 months and is over 34 games. Maybe LA are favored to win that.

      • Charles says:

        Tom, Couldn’t agree more.

        Not sure you would agree with this, but IF MLS is going to use playoffs to determine the winner and let face it they are, THEN…
        They need to get a system that puts one of the best teams as winner almost all the time. For instance, Salt Lake was fine, because they were a great team and very close to the Supporters Shield even as a low playoff seed.
        Colorado…not so much.

        If you have ten teams ( stupid ) then even more so. You CANNOT have it seem random. 3 game playoff series including the final should be seriously looked at. IF a 34 game season is doable, then reduce it to 30 games again, use the extra games for the playoffs.

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