CARSON, Calif. – New LA Galaxy forward Juan Pablo Ángel wasted no time. Upon arriving in Southern California this week, he hit the ground running and went right to work.
After two days of practice, the Colombian striker said the focus in early February is not quite building relationships but rather getting back to the grind.
“Little by little, it will happen,” Ángel said after Galaxy training on Tuesday. “I’ve only been here two days. We have the rest of February, the beginning of March to build partnerships. Right now, the focus is to be fit, to get used to the ball again. There’s plenty of time to do the rest.”
Ángel is one of several newcomers to the Galaxy. The squad has now trained on the field twice, playing short-sided games and running through an array of other drills. While Ángel hasn’t spent any sort of significant time with most of his new teammates, he said his first impressions of the club were positive.
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“It’s too early to tell, but there’s some good balance,” he said. “There are some experienced players – that are always important on a team – and there are some good, young talented players."
“The important thing about this team is that there is a good core. A lot of players have been together for a number of years and that always gives you an advantage.”
While players like Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez and Sean Franklin were around for the start of the 2009 season, Ángel and the slew of draft choices and other newcomers now face the challenge of integrating themselves into a squad that has been mostly intact since the ’09 season.
A large part of that process, Ángel said, was to pick up on what their returning teammates already have.
“All the new guys coming in right now, we’ll try to adjust to the philosophy of the team as soon as possible and try to start getting it together,” he said. “The quicker we settle in, the better for everybody.”
While his long-term goals with the Galaxy center on success, putting himself in a position to achieve them is what matters most right now.
“First of all, I need to get into the rhythm of the game again, get to know the players, hopefully they get to know me quick, hopefully start to perform well,” he said. “I want to win with this team. This team has been doing well the last couple of years but the only thing that has been lacking has been the championship. Hopefully this year could be the one.”