CARSON, Calif. – When the LA Galaxy bid farewell to Edson Buddle, a world-class forward was waiting in the wings.
Though the Galaxy may miss Buddle’s presence and his 17 goals, they won’t exactly be in dire straits. When the club finalized its deal with Juan Pablo Angel on Jan. 19, it essentially swapped one MLS superstar for another.
“He’s just dangerous,” Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said of Ángel. “The beauty of having Edson last year was that once teams realized that what he was doing was real — it wasn’t just luck, it wasn’t just he was taking a few shots and they were going in — it takes a lot of pressure off of the rest of us. Juan Pablo’s the same way.”
Buddle led the team in goals and finished second overall in MLS in that category last year. But he’s taken his goal-scoring antics to German side FC Ingolstadt, and Ángel now becomes the team’s go-to player up top.
And wherever he is up top, whatever position or whoever is around him, Ángel is a perennial threat to put the ball past the opposing ‘keeper.
WATCH: Juan Pablo Ángel highlights
“He scores goals where a ball drops loose in a box and he pounces on it, he makes a good run in front, and he can score with his head, from both feet," Donovan said. "He can score from distance and he’s good at taking free kicks, so he’s got it all from that standpoint.
"He’s a little bit like Taylor Twellman was where he just wants to score. He just has something in him that drives him to get to the ball and put the ball in the net. Sometimes that’s inexplicable. You don’t know why that is.”
With Buddle playing role of lethal finisher, Donovan’s job of setup man was made that much easier and productive. Donovan finished the season with a league-high 17 assists, and he said he looks forward to playing the role of supplier again in 2011.
“You want a guy who wants the ball always … and wants the ball in a good position and puts himself in good positions so he can be dangerous," Donovan said. "Edson became very good at that last year ... and Juan Pablo does that, too.”
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