CARSON, Calif. — Juan Pablo Ángel was supposed to have given the LA Galaxy a potent weapon up front, serving as the perfect complement to Landon Donovan and David Beckham.
Three goals in 19 games, though, is the production few within the Galaxy would have predicted when the Colombian veteran striker joined the club. Entering the final three months of the regular season, Ángel is mired in a horrid season-long slump as he is on pace to score fewer than 10 goals for the first time since joining MLS in 2006.
“I feel really well right now,” Ángel said at training on Thursday. “It’s just that I can’t buy a goal right now. I feel like I’ve been playing better, but at the end of the day you get judged by goals. Hopefully they will come pretty soon when the team most needs them.”
Angel's goal attempt vs Crew
Ángel’s last match was perhaps indicative of his play with the Galaxy. Against Columbus last week, captain Landon Donovan knifed through the defense, drew defenders and laid a ball out to Ángel on the right side of the box. As Crew ‘keeper William Hesmer charged off his line, the forward chipped the ball over Hesmer’s head and towards an empty goal.
But the ball sailed wide of the net, though, and Ángel missed on what would be his best opportunity of the night.
The Galaxy wound up winning regardless, 1-0 on a Sean Franklin goal. Perhaps the three points and the team’s overall performance offset Ángel’s fifth consecutive goalless effort.
“I felt I was more involved in the game," he said of that match. "I managed to get a couple of chances and hopefully the goal will open up for me at the right time. I’m not frustrated, although I would have loved to have scored a goal. I felt that I was a lot more involved in the game and participated more in the build-up of the game.”
Before joining the Galaxy, Ángel was one of the league’s top forwards. He scored 19 goals in 24 games in 2007, his first season in MLS, and went on to score 58 goals in four seasons with the Red Bulls, never scoring fewer than 12 in one season.
This season, though, he has been largely ineffective. At one stretch, he went eight consecutive games without a goal and had just one goal through his first 10 games of the season.
“I wish the season would be different in terms of goals scored, but it’s one of those where you have to keep digging, you have to keep working on it,” Ángel said. “There are still a number of games left and it’s one of those where if you score one, hopefully it opens up and they come all together.”