CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA have been seeking a strike force to break them out of their offensive doldrums, and the combination of Juan Pablo Ángel and Juan Agudelo just may be the one to do so – but they’ll need some seasoning first.
In what was just their second start together during Chivas’ 3-0 loss to Real Salt Lake last weekend, the former New York Red Bulls teammates combined well but were unable to seriously challenge the RSL defense until the game’s dying minutes. Despite the fact that the pair was unable to score, Ángel (above left) cautioned that partnerships don't click overnight.
“There wasn’t much, there were a couple of crosses at the end and I think that we should have utilized that avenue more,” the veteran striker told reporters this past Saturday. “When we get to the flanks, then we need to cross the ball because the end of the day, the only way to score goals is to get into positions. It’s something that we have to work on, this is our first game so we’ll see.”
Following the defeat, Chivas head coach Robin Fraser agreed with Ángel that the execution from his attackers must improve.
HIGHLIGHTS: CHV 0, RSL 3
“Well, certainly we have players that we think are good players and we have to be able to execute,” said Fraser. “[Against RSL] I felt like we didn’t execute the attacking end. We took stretches of possession and didn’t turn them into dangerous chances.”
The pair will likely partner alongside one another again on Wednesday when the Rojiblancos host the Montreal Impact (10:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online). With José Erik Correa and Miller Bolaños likely out due to hamstring injuries, Ángel is expected to carry the load – alongside Agudelo – as the Goats look to get their second home victory of the season.
While all signs may point to another Ángel start, the forward is taking a more cautious approach.
“We’ll see,” said Ángel of his status for Wednesday. “There are a bunch of guys [on Chivas] that want to play and at the end of the day, it’s the coach that makes the decisions. One of his duties is to try to select a team that is capable of winning games.”
With Montreal looming, the veteran forward admits that he is feeling stronger than he was earlier in the season, but understands that his club must begin winning games.
“Fitness wise, I feel good and I feel fit, sharper and better,” Ángel added. “But at the end of the day, it’s about winning games. Regardless of who is playing, we’ve got to start winning games.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.