CARSON, Calif. – When forward Juan Pablo Angel joined the LA Galaxy during the offseason, there were immediate expectations that the addition of the Colombian would result in even more goals for a team that finished second in league play last year with 44 goals.
However, thus far in 2011, the goals have certainly not come in bunches. Through five games of the 2011 MLS season, the Galaxy have scored exactly five goals. While that has been good enough for a 2-2-1 record and eight points, the defense has once again determined whether or not the Galaxy secure points.
But there are mitigating factors which explain why LA have yet to score multiple goals in a match.
“When you look at the games we’ve played so far, the game against New England was a very difficult field to play [on],” Ángel said. “We didn’t have a good game against Salt Lake and against Philadelphia we played pretty much the second half one man down. But it’s important we keep getting results.”
In the Galaxy’s match last Saturday against D.C. United, the club had to make do without Donovan, as an injured knee prevented him from traveling to the nation’s capital. Donovan’s absence, though, was only the latest in a season filled with them.
However, the Colombian—who has scored 58 goals in the last four MLS seasons—stopped short of using injuries as an excuse for the club’s offensive shortcomings.
“Those are the things you are going to face throughout the year and that’s going to tell you how good as a team you are,” Ángel said. “At the end of the day, it’s how you replace those individuals that are important for the team and tells you if you have the depth and the strength within the squad to win things.”
Another aspect that is not to be discounted is the fact that Ángel has had to adjust to new players and strike partnerships. He worked alongside Chad Barrett at the start and then paired with new arrival Miguel Lopez over the last two matches after Barrett was dropped following a string of mediocre performances.
To expect an Ángel-López or an Ángel-Barrett partnership to take off from the start is perhaps expecting too much.
“There’s obviously a partnership with Miguel and Juan that’s starting,” Beckham said. “Partnerships take time. They’re two very good players with a lot of talent. They’re going to get their goals, whether it comes in the next game or the next three games, we’ll have to wait and see.
“But as long as we’re working together as a team, as long as we’re supporting each other as a team, then we’ll be fine.”