CARSON, Calif. – For the second straight week, it appears that concussion symptoms will prevent star forward Juan Pablo Ángel from suiting up for Chivas USA.
A team official confirmed to MLSsoccer.com on Thursday that it is “doubtful” that Ángel will be traveling for Chivas’ first road match of the season on Saturday against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium (9 pm ET; MLS Live).
Ángel missed last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to the Vancouver Whitecaps as the team held him out because of a head contusion, and it appears likely that the same precautionary measures will be taken for the Rojiblancos’ trip to Salt Lake.
“He’s been dealing with some concussion-like symptoms,” head coach Robin Fraser told MLSsoccer.com after the club’s training session on Thursday. “He started having some symptoms a couple of weeks ago and we’ve been monitoring the situation with him, and we just got to the point where it seemed to make sense.”
Since last week, the veteran forward has been undergoing almost daily evaluations in compliance with the league’s concussion protocol to test his readiness to return to the field. Ángel was able to train with the club on Wednesday, but the 36-year-old striker did not participate in Thursday’s session.
The veteran told reporters last week that his injury was suffered when he knocked heads with Portland Timbers defender Eric Brunner during Chivas’ preseason match against the Timbers at JELD-WEN Field on March 2.
Ángel battled through the effects to participate in the club’s season opener against the Houston Dynamo, but under the instruction of the club’s medical staff, he was held out of the match against Vancouver as a precaution.
Without Ángel, Fraser will likely turn to either rookie Casey Townsend or youngster Cesar Romero to lead the attack against RSL. Although facing Salt Lake without Ángel poses a stiff challenge, the Rojiblancos believe they are ready to hold down the fort while their star recovers.
“Juan’s a great player and he’s a big part of what we do,” midfielder Nick LaBrocca recently told MLSsoccer.com. “The worst thing to do would be to rush him back. But when he’s ready, Juan’s always in good shape and he’ll be ready to jump in.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com