Ángel settling in well ahead of Chivas' trip to Colorado
CARSON, Calif. — Though in the midst an epic five-match road trip, Chivas USA can see light at the end of the tunnel — especially now they've been bolstered by the addition of veteran striker Juan Pablo Ángel.
The Rojiblancos make their fourth and penultimate trip of a busy August on Saturday when they travel to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park to take the defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids (9 pm ET; watch LIVE online).
Ángel, who was acquired earlier in the week from the LA Galaxy, has jumped right into the fray since joining the club. The 35-year-old has trained for three days this week alongside fellow forwards Alejandro Moreno, Marcos Mondaini and Justin Braun.
The Colombian appeared to fit in well in the Goats' possession-oriented system and will likely play some role against the Rapids, but it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll start.
“We have a number of different types of forwards, and I think Juan enhances that mix," head coach Robin Fraser said. "We have speed, power, dribbling ability and guys who could take guys on. Juan only gives us more choices, but it’s still yet to be determined [who will start]. We’re in the process of looking at all the combinations and seeing what works best.”
Whether or not Ángel plays a role, a result is needed if the Goats are to keep up in the playoff chase. They currently sit one point behind the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United for the final wildcard playoff spot as the season's home stretch looms.
With the stakes high, the Rojiblancos are feeling confident about getting a result in the Rocky Mountains.
“We’re turning the corner on this long road trip,’ goalkeeper Dan Kennedy told MLSsoccer.com. “We’re coming to the end of it and obviously coming off a couple of good results, so we need to take that momentum and confidence and apply that in Colorado.”
Kennedy key during road trip
During Chivas' brief two-game unbeaten streak, Kennedy has been a star, repeatedly making key saves to preserve results.
Though he has been the focal point of late, the Rojiblancos would like to lessen his workload. Following their draw against the Sounders, Fraser praised the confidence that Kennedy has provided to his group, but he admitted that the Goats needed to get to a place where “Dan is the last person we talk about.”
Kennedy, who has shunned the spotlight during his recent run of form, admitted that the extra work is just part of the job description for a goalkeeper on the road.
“On the road you’ve got to be prepared to make some saves,” he said. “I’ll be prepared and hopefully the team steps up. We’re going in there looking for wins right now.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter: @adamserrano