CARSON, Calif. –– Juan Pablo Ángel has been a revelation in a Chivas USA uniform. He has scored seven times in seven games since switching his Galaxy jersey for Chivas’ red and white stripes.
Since arriving, the veteran striker has routinely provided the clinical finishing that the Rojiblancos have been searching for throughout the season.
Head coach Robin Fraser is hoping to keep Ángel’s scoring exploits at the club for another year, but isn’t sure what will happen when this season concludes.
“I suppose that anything is possible, but I don't think anything is etched in stone either,” said Fraser about Ángel possibly staying on for next season. “He's been important for us on the field and off the field, so we'd like to think that it is possible.”
Ángel was at his best again on Sunday when he scored a vital goal in the 90th minute to give Chivas a 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union and keep the team's faint playoff hopes alive.
Since joining the Rojiblancos during the summer, Ángel has been praised by teammates for his accomplishments on the field as well as his professionalism in the locker room. However, at the age of 35, the end to his illustrious career may be near.
When asked if the decision to bring Ángel back in 2012 came down to solely to Ángel's lofty contract — which is being paid primarily by the Galaxy — Fraser refused to speculate.
“At at the end of the day, there are not only [financial questions], but player decisions," he said. "And certainly as you get into middle 30s, some players want to continue going and some don't, so it would be foolish and irresponsible of me to speculate what Juan is thinking.
"As we've seen, he's been extremely valuable to us, so we'll certainly address this and try to figure out how we'll go forward.”
MORENO SHINES IN DRAW
Ángel may have scored the goal, but it was the tireless work ethic of Alejandro Moreno — who was usually responsible for sparking the Goats' attack — that shone in Sunday's draw vs. Philly.
Prior to Ángel's goal, it was Moreno who gave Chivas their best chance of an equalizer. Just moments after Justin Mapp put the Union ahead, Moreno received a pass from Marcos Mondaini and fired a header that smacked against the left post. Although it was one of his finest performances in recent weeks, Moreno admitted the team’s performance was simply not good enough.
“Our mentality has to be better, our consistency has to be better, in order for us to continue to build,” said Moreno, who departs for international duty with Venezuela this week. “We have to be able to get results with some consistency, and we haven't done that for the course of the year.”
ROJIBLANCOS FACE ELIMINATION ON TUESDAY
The official playoff permutations are out and the outlook is bleak for Fraser's men.
When Chivas kick off against the Galaxy on October 16, the Rojiblancos may already be eliminated from playoff contention. Chivas can be eliminated as early as Tuesday, as a New York Red Bulls victory over the Galaxy at Red Bull Arena will extinguish Chivas’ hopes of making the postseason.
Should New York fall to the Galaxy, then Chivas can be eliminated if Portland defeat Houston on October 14 at JELD-WEN Field. Only if those two results go in the Rojiblancos favor can they keep their hopes alive heading into the SuperClasico.
“Mathematically, we still have a chance,” said goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. “As results like this happen, you just depend more and more on everyone else. And that's the problem.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @AdamSerrano