Angel adjusting to life in first year with the Galaxy

Forward gives LA a “new dimension” as the season approaches

Angel vs UCLA

Photo Credit: 
Robert Mora / LA Galaxy

CARSON, Calif.
LA Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena said he never had any
doubts Juan Pablo Angel could fit in with his new team.

“If we did, we wouldn’t have
brought him in,” Arena said.

Galaxy standout Landon
Donovan also had no qualms about the former New York Red Bull.

“On the guy who’s scored
more goals in our league over the last four years than anyone?” he said with a
grin. “No. I was pretty excited when I found out he was coming.”

The Galaxy were hit hard by
the announcement in early January that Edson Buddle, who scored a career-high
17 goals in 2010 and was named to the U.S. World Cup team, was signing with FC
Ingolstadt in Germany.

Arena, however, had a plan
to ease the disappointment of the loss.

It came to fruition in
December when he selected Angel in the first round (fifth overall) of stage two
of the MLS Re-Entry Draft Process
and then signed him to a new contract in
mid-January
.

Angel had spent the previous
four seasons in New York,
where he scored more goals (58 in 102 career regular-season games) than anyone
in MLS. Angel came to the league in 2007 and signed with the Red Bulls, who
were then coached by Arena, and went on to become the club’s all-time leading
scorer with 61 goals in all MLS competitions.

But now he is in Los Angeles and Angel, who turned 35 in October, is anxious
to do his part to bring a championship to Southern
California. The Galaxy, who open the regular season on Tuesday
against Sounders FC in Seattle, have come close of late, having reached the
2009 MLS Cup final (where they lost to Real Salt Lake on penalty kicks) and last
season’s Western Conference Championship.

Angel said he was thrilled
with the chance to not only be reunited with his former coach – “It makes
easier for you, someone that knows you and knows how to treat you,” he said --
but join what he called a first-class franchise.

“Arguably this is the best
organization in the league,” he said.

“First of all, it was an
honor to be contacted by them and by Bruce.

I’m delighted to be here,
hoping this is going to be a good year for us, this organization and me
individually.”

Arena said he already likes
what he has seen from the former Colombian international.

“He’s done well,” Arena
said. “He’s brought very good professionalism to our team.”

Angel, who figures to be
lined up alongside another new addition, former Toronto FC standout Chad
Barrett, said “there’s still a bit of work to be done” but he is growing more
and more comfortable in his new surroundings and with his new teammates.
Donovan said Angel gives the Galaxy “a dimension we haven’t had,” but Angel
cautioned it will take time.

“So far it’s been good,”
Angel said. “They have a good core of players here that have been together for
a number of years. With David (Beckham) and Landon, they’re quality players and
we have to play well as a team. It’s important as a unit we play well to help
those players do what they’re good at it.

“Hopefully with the new
additions we can adjust as soon as possible and contribute to what hopefully
will be a good year for us. It’s going to be extremely busy with a lot of games
and a number of competitions and we have to be ready for it.”

Join the Galaxy as they Countdown to Kickoff with a
series of events and appearances for fans in the community. Galaxy
players, staff, Miss LA Galaxy Court members and Galaxy Street Team
will be active throughout the week engaging with fans, the public and
media in order to thank them for their support and to raise
awareness for the start of the 2011 MLS season. For the full schedule
and and opportunities to meet the Galaxy players, visit www.lagalaxy.com/caravan.

Take
your photo with the 2010 Supporters' Shield and 2009 Western
Conference Championship Trophy on Tuesday, March 15 at Ye Olde King's
Head before your LA Galaxy face the Seattle Sounders in MLS First Kick
2011 at 6:30 p.m. PT on ESPN/Deportes. Plus, opportunities to win
tickets to the Galaxy home opener as well as an autographed jersey! MORE INFO

On
Sunday, March 20, the Galaxy will host the New England Revolution
in their home opener, presented by Pechanga Resort & Casino, at 5
p.m. at The Home Depot Center. The first 15,000 fans will receive
2011 magnet schedules. Tickets are available for that match,
starting at $25. BUY NOW

 

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