Juan Pablo Ángel kicked off his time as a member of Chivas USA in style.
Less than a week after being acquired from the LA Galaxy, the Colombian forward scored his first goal in a Rojiblancos uniform in Chivas USA’s 2-2 draw against the Colorado Rapids.
In the 36th minute of play, Ángel was the recipient of a clever through pass from midfielder Nick LaBrocca that sliced through the heart of the Colorado defense and found the forward in midstride and alone on net. With only ‘keeper Matt Pickens to beat, Ángel calmly placed the shot in the left corner of the Colorado net.
The veteran striker exploded into an exuberant celebration following his tally as he felt the weight of his recent struggles lifted off of him.
“I was excited.” Ángel told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the match. “It was a great feeling, a great play from a great pass and a great moment for me. I know what I can do and my challenge is to help this team in the last stretch of the season, and I’ll try to play well for them.”
After just three training sessions with the Rojiblancos during the week, Ángel appeared to fit into the Goats system against the Rapids. Going 90 minutes, the 35-year-old appeared energized, routinely creating space and aiding in the build-up of the attack as Chivas USA battled back from a pair of one-goal deficits.
Throughout the match, Ángel’s presence near goal was immense. He provided Chivas USA with a target to send in crosses and he showed his composure in the box in the 76th minute, when he headed a MIchael Lahoud cross just inches over the crossbar.
“He added quite a bit to us,” head coach Robin Fraser told MLSsoccer.com. “It took us a while to get in sync, but as the team got better, we were able to find him with the ball quite a bit and he was very instrumental in helping us build out of the back and get into a bit more of a rhythm. Certainly, his alertness on the goal and the quality of his finish was excellent. I thought, overall, it was a great debut for him.
While Ángel made a lasting impression on the Rojiblancos shape against Colorado, the newest Goat admitted that resilience Chivas USA’s showed had a major effect on him.
“That is one of the noticeable things about this team: the never die attitude,” Ángel said. “At the end of the day, we know we could play better, but to come to Colorado and get a point, I’ll take it.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter: @adamserrano