Chivas USA acquired veteran striker Juan Pablo Ángel midseason to score key goals. And on Wednesday night in a 2-2 tie against D.C. United, he did exactly that.
With his team in a two-goal hole, the veteran striker scored a pair of second-half tallies to help Chivas walk away with a point and preserve their slim playoff aspirations. It was Ángel’s first two-goal effort since July 31, 2010, when he was still in a New York Red Bulls uniform.
In 22 games this year with the LA Galaxy before moving across the hall to Chivas USA, Ángel had scored just three goals. In five games with the Goats, he’s already tallied four times, including three in his last two matches.
After his stellar performance against United, the 35-year-old admitted that he has felt a spark since arriving at Chivas USA.
“Since I’ve moved to [Chivas], I have enjoyed the game again,” Ángel told reporters after the match. “I feel that I’ve been playing better every game. I’m feeling more comfortable on the ball and in the air. Today, I was happy that my goals helped the team to get at least a tie.”
Against DC, Ángel appeared comfortable throughout, routinely putting himself in the right place to score his goals and set up chances. However, he nearly went from hero to villain in the dying moments of the game, conceding a questionable penalty to Dwayne De Rosario that required Dan Kennedy to make a clutch save to preserve the draw.
But even Kennedy, who had to make a number of key stops to keep Chivas level, admitted that Ángel’s presence has been an immense boost to the club.
“That’s the class that he brings every time he comes out to the pitch,” he said of the Colombian star. “Whether it’s in training or in games, we know that if we can give him a couple chances he’ll bury them."
With the team now returning home to the Home Depot Center for the remainder of their season, the odds of playoff qualification are slim. But if Ángel can continue his scoring tear and the Goats can squeak out a few wins, then there’s a possibility they can find themselves in the postseason.
“I thought we showed a lot of resilience and character and more of what we expect from this team,” said Ángel. “It allowed us to even the game up and we could have won it. There are a lot of positives today. I think this is going to be a great boost for the team and we still mathematically have a chance to qualify [for the playoffs] and we’re going to give it the best effort that we can.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.